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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Growing Up

littleC and the BoysOur two young brothers Ngungu and Shunga are continuing to eat in front of visitors and are growing up to be very good CCF ambassadors. They have even started to copy their older pen mate littleC by climbing up the tree inside their enclosure and posing proudly for photos. littleC has also had to contend with increased cheeky behaviour from the two mischievous cheetahs who often try and gang up on their adopted older brother and try and steal his food! At the moment littleC is still too big and swiftly swipes the bothersome twosome away, although for how much longer littleC can maintain his dominance over the fast growing youngsters, only time will tell!

BellaIt has been an important week for three of our other adolescent cheetahs which saw the sad but necessary separation of brother and sister. Siblings Obe-Wan and Padme came to CCF in September 2008, they had been trapped by a farmer who kept them for two months with the aim of capturing the mother. However, the mother never showed and CCF were called to collect them. Upon arrival at CCF Obe-Wan and Padme were placed in an enclosure with Anakin, another of our orphaned cubs and they got on extremely well. Anakin was named after the character from the Star Wars movies and provided the inspiration for naming Obe-Wan and Padme. All three are very feisty characters and have formed quite a bond over the last few months, however they are all around a year of age and the two boys will soon start looking at Padme in a very different light and with it being illegal to breed cheetahs in Namibia it is time to separate them. Therefore Anakin and Obe-Wan have been moved into an enclosure next to two of our young males Chester and Omdillo. They will be able to see and meet each other through the fence and it is hoped that all four will soon become good friends and form a formidable coalition. Padme's future is not yet determined; our original plan was to put her in our enclosure housing six other females, however, we picked up a new arrival this week that may provide us with another option. My colleague Chris Gordon and I traveled to a farm just past Okahandja and collected a beautiful 4-5 month old female. The owner of a farm rescued the small cub, whom we have named 'Bella,' from a neighboring farm where she was being held in a small chicken coup. The caring farmer had taken Bella to the vet for initial vaccinations. We found Bella in excellent condition inside a well kept dog pen but persuading her to enter our cheetah box proved quite tricky and Chris eventually had to man up and enter the pen armed with a towel which he was able to place over Bella and grab her by the scruff of the neck. The fate of Bella's mother is unknown, but being separated from her at such a young age means that Bella will not be able to be released back into the wild as she has been denied the essential life skills that her mother would have taught her. I will of course keep you informed on Bella's progress and whether or not she becomes a new pen mate for Padme.

Our 17 livestock guarding dog puppies are also growing up fast and preparations are underway for puppy day on the 14th of February when their new owners will come to CFF to collect them. On that day the farmers will be shown around CCF's Model Farm and attend several information sessions where they will learn how to look after and train their puppy correctly, as well as get the chance to ask CCF staff any questions they may have.

Well, that's all for now, see you next time!


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