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Thursday, 28 January 2010

Thank you!

We did it!

Thanks to our loyal supporters, we reached our $150,000 goal! Combined with the matching funds from other generous donors, we made our $300,000 Challenge in six weeks. What a great feeling to know that we can count on our friends, even during hard times.
Because of your generosity, we go into 2010 with our major programs—our farmer and youth education, the livestock guarding dogs, and our ongoing biological and reproductive research—funded...for the next few months. As you know, CCF is a small organization, and you are its heart and soul. And, until cheetahs are off the endangered species list, our work will never be completed. It is only due to the fierce determination of our board, staff, and donors that we have achieved this level of success.
2010 will be especially exciting for CCF, as this is our 20th anniversary! Twenty years ago, I sold everything I had and moved to the newly independent Namibia, which had and still has the largest remaining population of cheetah. I wanted to save the wild cheetah, but I had no idea my dream would turn into the organization CCF is today!
To celebrate this milestone year, I and the CCF staff will be sending out regular emails highlighting CCF’s various programs and achievements. I hope you enjoy them and that they give you greater insight into the challenges that we still face.
Sending you cheetah purrs for a wonderful 2010!
With my deepest gratitude and profound thanks,

Dr. Laurie Marker
Founder and Executive Director

CCF Book Cover2009 CCF Highlights Book Now Available!

2009 was an extraordinary year for CCF. The highlights from last year have been compiled into a beautiful book that can be purchased online.
Please visit this link to preview the book and order:

NamibRand Cheetahs

CCF is supported globally by affiliate non-profit organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, Namibia, Canada, Japan, Holland, Italy, France and Germany. For our international locations please visit
Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 1755
Otjiwarongo, Namibia

Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio proclaims January 28th as "Cheetah Day" during CCF staff visit.

On January 28, 2010, at 1:30 p.m., CCF's Cheetah Keeper and Research Assistant, Kate Echement, is teaming up with the Suzi Rupp from the Columbus Zoo to present a 1 hour lecture / slide presentation on conservation, education and wild animal husbandry at the Cardinal Mooney High School Gymnasium. In the audience will be the student body, faculty, staff, plus friends and family of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). As a result, Mayor Jay Williams has proclaimed today as "Cheetah Day"! Click here to view the proclamation.

Suzi Rapp, Jack Hanna’s personal assistant, two handlers, their ambassador cheetah Ro, with Reese the Anatolian guard dog puppy from the Columbus Zoo will arrive between noon and 12:30 p.m. to set up and be available for press coverage. They will also be available for approximately one (1) hour after the lecture for additional press follow up in a meet & greet type setting.

NamibRand Female - update as of 26/Jan

Rob Thomson, MSc
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Web (work):
Mobile/Cell: +264 (0) 81 364 3356

The female has moved again, and I find myself learning a little more of the local geography around NamibRand NR.  She has crossed the C19 and left Hammerstein behind.  She may have briefly spent time on Swartmodder, but is now on the mountainous looking farm of Omkyk.  As of late last night (23:29), she was 16.5 km from the NRNR boundary.  



Thursday, 21 January 2010

NamibRand cheetahs - update as of 20/jan

Since leaving the reserve the female has moved deeper onto Hammerstein and across the border into the Eastern segment of the farm.  As of Tuesday afternoon, she was 7 km from the reserve boundary (see map).

Meantime, the boys have also been moving around quite a bit recently, with (presumably) hunting trips to Toskaan, the Bushman Koppies and the south. They also appear to have drunk from Porcupine and Sandgrouse waterholes and on the morning of the 12th, visited Keerweder.



Monday, 18 January 2010

NamibRand female cheetah - as of 13/1/2010

I don't have the best of news for you.  Our female has returned to Hammerstein, to the east of the reserve.  As of the morning of the 13th, she was over 5 km outside of the reserve boundary.
Whether she felt threatened by the presence of tourists/vehicles, the five boys, or simply preferred the hunting on the farms is impossible to tell.  Perhaps she will return again in the future, but either way I'll be continuing to monitor her movements.

PS from Laurie:
Cheetahs just roam – and females will be using a lot more area than the males will - once she begins to take her cubs around, she will go a bit further regularly. It will be very interesting to see how she moves vs other females!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Soraya (aka Houdini)

One of CCF's Star cubs, Soraya, learned to jump out of her enclosure into the front yard. She was found there a couple of times in the last couple of days and no one knew how she did it, but yesterday, after putting her back in the Stars' enclosure again, she jumped out right in front of everyone! 

But she doesn't just jump out--she climbs on the roof of the little hut, then jumps to the roof of Laurie's house, then slides down that and drops to the ground! Ingenious!   

So of course the three Stars have been moved out of that enclosure so she can't continue to get out.
I think it's incredible that Soraya could map out a multi-stage plan to get out.



2009 Update for our Wild Cheetah donors!

It is CCF’s primary mission to conserve the cheetah in the wild and one of our biggest successes over the years has been to persuade farmers who view cheetahs as a threat to their livestock not to shoot but instead capture them for us to collect and re-release. This is an update on those cheetahs we have been monitoring through radio and GPS collars as well as all the cheetahs that CCF have been able to successfully re-release back into the wild in 2009.

In the first six months of 2009, 7 (3M, 4F) cheetahs were released into NamibRand Nature Reserve; AJU-1350M’s collar was removed, then re-released, AJU-1576F was fitted with a GPS collar (previously fitted on AJU-1350M) and released with her 3 cubs (AJU-1574M, 1575M, and 1577F), females AJU-1506 and 1507 were also collared before release; AJU-1507 was fitted with a GPS collar and AJU-1506 was fitted with a radio collar.

In the last six months of 2009, 5 (3M, 2F) were released on CCF property after health exams were performed.  In early August, traps were placed around CCF farm Elandsvreugde in order to place a GPS collar on AJU-1543, one of 2 male ‘resident’ wild cheetahs.  Both AJU-1542 and 1543 were trapped, examined, sperm collected; a collar was placed on 1543, and they were then released back onto Elandsvreugde.  Both cheetahs are still regular visitors to the CCF centre and still enjoy flirting with our captive females.

During mid-November, CCF staff received a call from the Hochfeld region regarding a mother and two cubs that had been seen consuming a calf.  Once all three had been captured and examined, CCF was able to determine why they had been actively hunting livestock.  The mother (AJU 1585) was an older cat, age estimated at 10 years, with a broken toe, and poor teeth.  All three were in poor condition upon arrival, alluding that the mother had been injured prior to being caught in the trap cage.  CCF held them for three weeks while the mother recovered from surgery; her broken toe had been amputated by visiting Windhoek vet Dr. Minty Soni, and dental work with Otjiwarongo dentist Dr. Profitt.  During that time mother and cubs’ condition improved greatly, and they were released on CCF property.

By the end of December 2009, CCF had released a total of 12 (6M, 6F) wild cheetahs. 

In early July, CCF retrieved two female cheetahs (AJU-1340 Misty and AJU-1355 Rosy) that were unable to be released in NamibRand due to health related issues.  The two females have hence returned to their original 64ha pen, Bellebenno.

In mid July, CCF staff received a call that AJU 1555, a collared female, was found caught in a cattle fence in Okahandja and died due to extensive damage to her abdomen caused by the fence.  At the time of her death, data from her satellite collar implied that she had a new litter of cubs.  The farmer confirmed that he and his staff had seen four very young cubs near the fence where she had been caught.  CCF staff was able to trap all four cubs, and brought them to the centre for exams.  During these exams, CCF staff was able to acquire blood and place transponders in three of the cubs (AJU-1580M Tony, AJU-1582F Polly, and AJU-1583M Phil) without anaesthesia. AJU-1581M Mischief had sustained an injury while in the trap cage, and required anaesthesia to suture an open wound on the front right chest.  The wound has hence healed as did his sibling AJU-1583M Phil’s shoulder injury that occurred after one month in captivity.  The care of all four cubs is under the supervision of LSGD programme leader Gail Potgieter.

In 2009, CCF loaned 2 female cheetahs to NamibRand.  NamibRand currently has 6 (5M, 1F) cheetahs on loan from CCF and have hence been released into the reserve.  One female (AJU-1507) was found dead shortly after her release, suspected victim of a spotted hyena attack.

Successful releases of captive cheetahs and relocation of wild cheetahs are only made possible because of the dedicated efforts of CCF’s staff and your support for which everyone at CCF would like to say a huge thank you. Without such generous support the survival of the cheetah would just not be possible.

To help us save a wild cheetah, visit this link:

Thank you for sharing our vision:

To see a world in which cheetahs live and flourish

in co-existence with people and the environment.



Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Report from NamibRand - update as of 6/Jan/2010

There is very limited satellite data for the female this week, although the most recent point is from this very morning and places her much closer to Keerweder than before.  It would be nice to see her back out in the pan, but only she can decide that. 

The boys on the other hand have been running all over the place during the last few days.  There are no points suggesting that they may have met the newly returned female, but they did move briefly north to the base of the mountains, and most recently headed up to the vicinity of the Bushman Koppies.

The following is a report from the wardens at NamibRand that might explain the limited data.

We had 19 mm of rain on 1 January (this maximum was measured at Keerweder, Bushman Koppies and Jagkop), and after that all the VHF collars stopped functioning, although the males have been seen since (e.g. 07h00 and 18h00 on 4 January at the cheetah camp). Fortunately the transmitters are working again today, Christine and Lars picked up the males’ signals this morning and we all saw them near the cheetah camp at 08h00.

Neither could a signal be obtained from the VHF transmitter of the female. We tried again today at Draaihoek and Toskaan but no luck; then as we were driving NW of the Toskaan house, we suddenly spotted two cheetahs bounding off – both appeared to be cubs. Then an adult moved into view – with a collar. More likely that this is “Mom” than Shanti? (the GPS position on the road 500m away was -24.87132S 16.08524E, time 10h15). Very exciting! It would be interesting to combine the recent sightings for the males and the female.

It is puzzling why none of the VHF collars were working after the rain – is it possible that they could have been affected by the moisture? There were some very heavy downpours on 1 January.

I hope you all enjoyed the opening of 2010.  May it be a good year for all of us, and all of the cheetahs.


We made it!

We met our $150,000 Year-End Challenge!!! Thank you so much to everyone who helped. This really makes a difference to cheetah survival.