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Friday, 23 October 2009

NamibRand Cheetah Boys - update as of 20/Oct

As some of you will be aware, there was a sighting of a group of cheetahs south of NRNR on October 16th.  Unfortunately we do not have any satellite data from that time, but as you can see from the wide area map that I've included (with the approximate location of the sighting marked), it seems unlikely that it was our group.

On the regular map I have again distinguished between visual and satellite points with the latter in yellow.

Selma, tracking in the field, has the following to report:

They are still doing well and still moving in the same area. These past few days they have not been at Wolwedans side (zebra dam); they tend to be moving between Draaihoek and Keerweder. On Tuesday they we saw them walking toward Ysterkop from Bushman koppie side. Mushara in front followed by Lindt, Cadbury, Ra and Kia at the back. They don't look full nor empty but I reckon they are out hunting. 


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

CCF had a BIG weekend in Chicago

The Board of Directors, Trustees and staff of CCF USA spent this weekend in Chicago (a year ago we met in Washington, DC, and the year prior, in New York). Unfortunately we were unable to visit much of this great city, but were happy to enjoy the warmth and hospitality of our very dynamic Chicago Chapter and volunteers. We were also thrilled to have as guests two of our CCF UK Trustees who for the first time were able to join us in the US.

On Friday, our Chapter Chair, Jayne Bazos, hosted us at an informal get together to welcome all of us and get everyone to meet one another. Karin Schwartz, who has worked with cheetahs for many years, surprised us with her beautiful piano playing! If we hadn’t had to start our meetings early on Saturday, we probably would have stayed there all night because we were having so much fun putting faces behind the names of people we work with all the time!

Saturday a long but productive day. Our CCF USA Board met in the morning to discuss ways in which to raise more funds to support CCF’s programs in Namibia and every country where there are still cheetahs. New Trustees were elected at that meeting and we will be announcing their names soon. I can tell you now that each one of them is a passionate cheetah supporter and friend. Stayed tuned to our web site and blog to learn who they are. In the afternoon, staff and trustees joined in for discussions about the future. We all came back home with homework as the different focus groups have to prepare a proposal for various areas that aim at helping our fast-growing organization to succeed. Dr. Stephen O’Brian, CCF USA’s Chairman of the Board (photo left, giving us directives for the breakout sessions), did a fantastic job moderating and keeping us all focused on the matters that matter.

After a long day, we all enjoyed a delicious Lebanese dinner at a local restaurant, kindly hosted by one of our Board members, and then it was back to work on Sunday morning. We are so grateful to the DuPuis family, long-time cheetah friends, who allowed us to hold our sessions at the beautiful DuPuis Group offices in downtown Chicago. They certainly gave us the royal treatment and made sure we did not go hungry!

Our Sunday sessions lasted only ½ day since everyone had to get ready for the Gala (of course Chapter and volunteers worked most of the day getting everything ready at the venue). The gala was held at the beautiful building that houses the Newberry Library. I read on a plaque that the building was the only one in the path of the great fire of 1871 that did not burn! I was glad to learn this because the building is such a beautiful architectural piece.

The Chicago Chapter did a tremendous job with the Gala. Volunteers from the Brookfield Zoo (photo, with our Chairman and Dr. Marker) were working tirelessly to ensure that our guests were enjoying themselves and sharing information about CCF’s work with videos being played around the room. Guests also had a chance to view videos of the Chicago Run for the Cheetah event held last April. There was a great display of cheetah and African merchandise (photo below), from jewelry to tees to pillows and purring cheetahs, including Dr. O’Brien’s book, Tears of the Cheetah. And the silent auction was so impressive with over 50 items donated by so many people and businesses that I wish I could list them all. There was beautiful cheetah art, gift certificates, tapestries, and even a scooter!

About 150 guests gasped almost in unison when a one-year-old cheetah, Roe, and a one-year-old dog, Riese, entered the room to join our Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, with their handlers Keith and Elissa. Roe and Riese are educational ambassadors who often travel with Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo. They help Jack explain to his audiences how Anatolian Shepherds such as Riese are being used by CCF in Namibia as Livestock Guarding Dogs to help avoid human-predator conflict and thus save cheetahs. A slide show of beautiful cheetah photos by photographer Larry Boutman, which ran throughout the evening, seemed to awaken Roe’s interest, especially when a running Thomson gazelle was shown. No one there could help giggling when seeing Roe’s reaction to the photo, which was quite a surprise to us since Roe is a captive-born cheetah who has never hunted.

Laurie talked about cheetahs and explained the threats that Roe’s wild relatives face today. She explained what CCF is doing to ensure the long-term survival of the cheetah. With Roe’s constant (and loud) purring in the background, gala guests learned from Laurie that the cheetah could be gone in just 20 years if we –and ‘we’ means everyone—don’t do anything to prevent such stark future. Attendees learned that CCF’s programs are effective because they are restoring cheetah habitat, and because they provide people who share the land with cheetahs with the necessary knowledge and tools (such as the dogs) to avoid conflict with this magnificent predator. None of this would happen without events like this gala that help us raise awareness and funding to continue with our work. Everyone who attended the gala played an important role in CCF’s efforts.

Our immense thanks to our Board, Trustees, Chapter members and volunteers who work so hard and yet took the time out of their busy lives to make this weekend so productive, fun, and successful.

Patricia Tricorache

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

NamibRand cheetahs update - 18/10/09; 20/10/09

Not much information for the boys, but they are still doing well and still moving in the same area. These past few days they have not been at Wolwedans side (zebra dam); they tend to be moving between Draaihoek and Keerweder. I have not been able to confirm if it was them that were seen on the Southern part of the Reserve (outside the reserve border) on Friday night but I have sent an email to the Toktokkie manager with few questions for confirmation, I will keep you posted.

I will be in touch soon!

Kind regards and best wishes, – Selma

Sunday, 18 October 2009

NamibRand update - Oct. 17, 2009

It has been a long day looking for the five males. We received a report that someone had seen the five cheetahs along the C27 road south of the Reserve last night next to the Tok Tokkie & NaDEET gate. We searched around Keerweder for the radio signals today morning and we could not find them. We went tracking up to the area were they were seen, further on the main road to Maltahöhe but we could not find spoors nor signals. I decided to come back since I could not get any signals and search on the northern part of the Reserve which was Draaihoek side.

After a long search, we got our signals near Porcupine waterhole. I did not expect it since I thought it was too far south where they were seen last night. We walked up the hill away from the road for good sighting and we saw one of them seating up in the Acacia tree looking at us and observing the surrounding area. The others were lying down undisturbed (raised their heads up and went back), he lied back after several minutes and that was the last sighting for them.

I have no idea if it was the boys that someone saw last night (around 20h00), as we could not find any tracks in the area. If it was our five males, then this means they have walked over ~40 km from where they were seen to where we found them in one night (last night). We will try to find out more, possibly from the person who saw them and let you posted.

I will be in touch for the update!

Thanks, – Selma

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Raising Awareness

We have just entered our blog in Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. Their purpose is to create a discussion.

This year’s topic is climate change and how it affects everyone. As an organization concerned with cheetah conservation, I will talk about Africa, where, as in many other places around the world, desertification –caused either because of human activities or climate change, is affecting everyone’s life. Specifically, desertification in cheetah-range countries is affecting the habitat of animals that depend on grazing for survival. Thus, animals that cheetah preys on are facing more and more difficulties finding grasslands where they can feed.

Once problem with desertification in Namibia, our home base, is the proliferation of invasive thorn bush. At CCF we have turned this issue into an opportunity by harvesting this invasive thorn bush and turning it into a clean-fuel burning log called Bushblok. To learn about Bushblok visit

Thanks to the folks at for offering a forum where everyone can discuss important issues!

All the best,


Monday, 5 October 2009

NamibRand report: the cheetah boys are back. 05/10/09

The male have visited the guesthouse today morning and according to Ann they were marking (spraying/ urinating) around the house. It has been a while since they last visited the house (three weeks) and it seems like they are back again. She shouted at them to scare them off and they run away. Ra seems to have a limp again, he was seen limping and on his own without the rest of the group on Saturday by Ann and Mike Scott near the cheetah pen. As I observed him today he was still limping, he was walking in a normal way in the morning but late in the afternoon, I noticed that he was limping. He seems to be walking well and start limping for several minutes. The limping is not that bad but he walks behind others and they seem to be stopping for several times to wait for him.

I was able to observe them for several hours today in the morning and in the afternoon. They haven’t been up to something (hunting) although their stomachs look almost empty or maybe it is because there was not much game in their way. They have tried stalking the hartebeest herd late in the afternoon but they were unsuccessful, the hartebeest became aware of their presence and ran away. We left them walking toward Keerweder waterhole, just shortly after the sun set. I reckon they will hunt tonight or early tomorrow morning.

That was all for today, I will keep a look out on Ra limp and keep you posted.