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Saturday, 29 August 2009

NamibRand Cheetahs - update as of 28/August

The boys are doing well and still wondering around Keerweder area marking the guest house occasionally. They have been near Keerweder pan (on Wolwedans side of the road) yesterday when Florian from N/a'an ku sĂȘ tracked them. They hunted a male springbok yesterday next to the pan and they have fed well. Florian and his guest were lucky enough to see the males taking over (catching) a springbok. According to the data I got from him, Ra seems to be left walking behind after a kill but there was no report that he was limping.

That’s all for now, I will keep you posted for the update…



Tuesday, 25 August 2009

NamibRand Boys - tracking problems for lack of vehicles

Just to let you all know that you have not received news from us because I
have not being able to track the boys last week and this week because we
have the problem with the vehicles. We only have one vehicle in the reserve;
the others are at the garages, so it is quite hectic here. The boy's signals
are still around Keerweder, I have seen them on Saturday next to the pen but
since then I have n't been able to track them again. One of the vehicles
will be back today and hope by this week I will get some tracking for the
boys and email you a report.
With regards,

Friday, 21 August 2009

NambRand female - update as of 19/Aug

The female continues to move in a relatively small area on the farms of Zaries and Steinhof.  She is between 13-16 km from the reserve boundary.




Friday, 14 August 2009

cheetah release and Jeff Corwin visit

On Sunday, we trapped two wild male cheetahs who have been hanging around the CCF facilities, to put a GPS satellite collar on one and do a medical workup on both. I came to know these cheetahs at the beginning of 2008. I always used to see tracks, and then one day we saw these two males near the offices. We're not used to seeing wild cheetahs so close, so at first we thought they were two of our cheetahs that had escaped! They started scent-marking the walls of the office building as a territorial behavior. Because they were living so close to so many people, we had to be able to track them.
We set out cage traps on Thursday but left them open so the cats could pass through and get used to them. On Saturday night we activated the traps. The traps were so close to us that I actually heard the gates shut when the cats entered the traps in the middle of the night. Very early the next morning, I checked from a distance and could see that the gates were shut. We moved the cats into crates at about 9 a.m. and took them to the clinic for a biomedical and physical exam and to fit one with a GPS satellite collar. Part of the workup involves weighing. These were the heaviest cheetahs I have ever seen. One weighed 61 kilograms (134 lbs.) and the other was 51 kilos (112 lbs.)!
To monitor them as they woke up from the sedation, we kept them at the clinic until the next morning, Monday. That morning, we drove them out to their usual hunting grounds to release them. Jeff Corwin, who hosts shows on Animal Planet and the Food Network, and a film crew were on hand to film the cheetahs' release. The release went exactly as it should—the cats dashed out of the crate and into the open savannah. When we next tracked them, they had traveled about 10 km away. We were worried that they were leaving us, but they were spotted this morning in CCF's "big field" and seem to be heading back to CCF's headquarters again.
In the photo (courtesy of Drew Gagne), Jeff Corwin and I are on top of the crates as one of the cheetahs darts out.
By the way, the Jeff Corwin show that features CCF is called "100 Heartbeats" and will air on MSNBC on Nov. 22.
--Matti Nghikembua

The five males at NamibRand momentarily in trouble: 13/08/2009

Firstly, the boys hunted and have fed well. I have a very interesting day yesterday observing them feeding on adult female springbok carcass. It was next to the fence but there is no sign if they have used the fence to catch it as they have done it last month (chased the springbok into the pen fence). They were full and poor things can barely walk, found them resting in the tree near the main road on Wolwedans side. After some minutes of observing Mushara woke up, mark the trunk of the tree and then showed us where the kill was. He walked toward the bush and starts feeding on a springbok kill, it was fresh and half eaten. It was approximately 15 m in the bush from the tree were they were resting. Ra and Kia remained in the tree still resting while Cadbury and Lindt joined Mushara on the kill.

In the afternoon I got a report from Tok Tokkie guide who drove from Keerweder to Tok Tokkie that the boys are stuck in the corridor on the main road (between the two fence for Wolwedans and Toekoms) and they are trying to find their way, but they are being disturbed by the road users, stopping their cars and observing them. We tried getting them out by opening up the gates to let them find the way into the reserve and finally we succeeded, all five find their way back into the reserve. We left them walking toward Keerweder yesterday late afternoon, no sighting for them today but their signals are around the pen.

That’s all for now, I will be in touch soon…

Thanks, Selma

Thursday, 13 August 2009

NamibRand female cheetah - as of 10/August

The female is still active (as of three days ago when the most current point was recorded), and seems to be ranging slightly further afield.  As you'll see from the map, she is also shifting position somewhat westwards - still for the most part of Zaries, but also slipping over a couple of times onto the unnamed farm adjacent to it.


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Quick update from Namibia: radio collars, puppies and cubs.

We just released the two male cheetahs that live around CCF with new radio
collars – so this is very exciting, as they now have a satellite collar and
we can see where they are on a regular basis.  We have also been busy with a
litter of puppies we are raising now – they are just a month of age and very
cute. We did just get some new cubs – they are ~ 4 ½ months of age – 4 of
them, a female and 3 males – so cute, so scared, but coming around actually
quite well considering their ages. 


P.S. The photo is of Mischief, one of the new cubs –he is quite a lively
little guy! Please consider sponsoring them. You can meet them on our web
site under How You Can Help.

Namibrand cheetahs update - 08/08 - 11/08/2009

Sorry for the delay the report is late. The boys are doing well and in good condition. They are still moving between Keerweder, Toskaan and Wolwedans (Zebra dam). They were up at Toskaan yesterday and today they are back on Wolwedans side. They hunted an adult male springbok on Saturday and it seems like they have hunted on Monday as well. They were seen by the staff drinking at Porcupine waterhole with light blood marks on their faces on Monday. They have visited  the guesthouse last night but they did not mark as they usually do.  


That’s all for today, I will be in touch soon.


Thanks – Selma

Saturday, 8 August 2009

NamibRand - the five male cheetahs doing great.

The five males are still moving around Keerweder, they are doing well and in good condition. They visited the guest house Thursday night of which one entered the camp through the small gate at the guest house (we are not sure if it was already open or not) and walked around the camp. No sighting for Shanti but I think she is around the Ysterkop. I was doing my spoor count sampling for my project on Thursday on the road from the main road to the ‘singing stones’ and I came across several tracks (fresh and old) of a lonely cheetah which have walked toward Keerweder from the koppie and back. I don’t think one of the boys will walk alone without the others.


After some effort of spraying Ammonia solution around the guest house where they use to mark, last night they were back again, marking on the ‘stoep’ and wall as usual. The strong smell of Ammonia solution did not make them stay away from the guest house at all.


According to Florian observation for the day, they are up at Boscia. He spent the day observing them climbing up trees and marking. It seems like he left them hunting. He will be observing them tomorrow again and I will send the data for the weekend on Monday.


I will be in touch soon.


Thanks – Selma    


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Rhinos, cheetahs, and a BBC Film crew!

HI – quick update on the last few days. We received two young female rhinos on Wednesday. They arrived just at dark and we drove them to the release site. These two females are 3 and 4 years of age. This release was a bit different than the males a couple days before. The one female took off like a bolt of lightning after being reversed from the sedative that kept her calm during her 3 hour trip from capture to CCF. In addition, the removal of the blindfold over her eyes and the ear plugs all made her senses come alive! So, she ran out of her crate fast into the dark and we could hear her for a couple minutes after release still running. The other female came out of her crate like a calm horse – she stepped out of the crate, walked a few feet, put up her head and sniffed, then walked slowly over to the nearest tree and just stopped. Over a half hour later, she had moved around and far enough from us that we could get the truck to our release area to pick up the crates again and drive away. Watching her, even in the dark, was such a peaceful experience. So, this week, these rhinos have given me one of my biggest thrills (the big males release) and one of the most tranquil moments – Rhinos are such a special animal. Over the last couple days, the big male (photo attached) has shown himself a couple times as our staff has been radio tracking them – he is magnificent! These are the last of the six rhinos that will be coming to CCF. We do, however, need to come up with ~$5,000 to support their transport to CCF. CCF is one of one a few sites selected by the Ministry of Environment for rhino relocation, and we are hoping that they can assist us in habitat restoration on our thickly bush encroached rhino sanctuary land.

On the cheetah front, we had to do minor surgery on one of the new cubs. Shoulder as we have been calling him, needed to have the gash on his shoulder re-stitched. We now hope that these stitches stay in better and that his shoulder heals. He and his siblings have accepted our care and are doing well, they are generally playful in our outside cub nursery area.

Chewbaaka is doing OK – from his enclosure he can see cubs and keeps a close watch on them.

We also have a BBC Film crew here for the next few days – they are filming our cheetahs running for a documentary called the Perfect Predator which will air in early 2010. We also have a group of 20 teachers from different areas of the US conducting their on-going education from Miami University in Ohio, USA. They are working on learning centered approaches in education. CCF and Miami University and Cincinnati Zoo have worked together for the past five years.