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Friday, 24 September 2010

OK Clan cubs Update

Hi everyone,


More photos for you: a close up of Peter (bet you will want to use this one as wallpaper!) and two cheetah cubs sharing a lunchtime bone.  In addition to their raw “meat balls,” the cubs love to chew and tear on a rib bone. When we first introduced the bones they ate very little but now they are a few weeks older, they rip into the meat with gusto, it’s a real lunch time favourite!

What a difference a few weeks makes.



Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Hi-Fi gets a new collar

Remember the two wild males that had been hanging around the CCF compound for the last couple of years: Sam and HiFi --named after former Namibian President Dr. Sam Nujoma, and our current president Hifikipunye Pohamba. At the end of August we reported that Sam was found dead of unknown causes.

We captured HiFi on the 18th to check on him and replace his collar. He is in excellent shape at 53 kgs and perfect teeth. We took samples and measured him, checked him from head to tail, and replaced his collar with a satellite collar.

HiFi stayed overnight in a quarantine pen and released the next morning after a meal. I have included a photo of his release.

Cheetah purrs,



Monday, 20 September 2010

The Okakarara Cubs Update

Here are a couple of photos of the Okakarara cubs --or the OK Clan-- just received from Namibia. A tired out little cheetah cub takes a rest following an afternoon of playing with her siblings, and two little cubbies napping after an afternoon of playing. At nearly seven weeks old, the cubs are eating well and becoming much more aware of their environment. They will start getting three feedings per day as of today.

The cubs have been named. The sweet little female is Tiger Lily, who according to Laurie came out screaming like a tiger! And since OK Clan sounds like a Western, and Tiger Lily was an American Indian saved by Peter Pan, that’s what we named the small male cub. The bigger male cub was named KhayJay, keeping with the Indian theme in mind –although this from the Hindu word that means “charge into action,” which is just what we’re doing for the cheetah! Finally, the other little female is Seney (a Turkish word meaning Lovely like the Moon).

We hope you like the names. We’re also happy to report that Chewbaaka is doing great, and so are all the puppies.




Friday, 17 September 2010

Cub Picture

Here is one the four cubs (female) peeking out from behind her sibling.  The sibling, a male, is enthralled with CCF’s ambassador cat Chewbaaka, who was taking a rest in the shade.  The cubs are playing outside regularly and love to chase each other around their area - Jane



Monday, 6 September 2010

The Okakarara cubs - Photos

For unknown reasons the photos may not display correctly. To view the whole image please click on them individually.

Here are some photos of the little cubs.


Training scat sniffing dogs

Steve Austin training Isha (the Anatolian) and Finn (Border Collie) with Carolyn.



Cheetah Release - 1 Sept 2010

Sorry for the delay. Blogger wouldn’t take all the pictures and this message just got returned to us.
As you might have learned from on our most recent eLetter, Hershey, Toblerone, Nestle and Chanel were collared last June in preparation for their soft release in CCF’s 4,000-ha Bellebenno research game camp as part of CCF’s research into cheetah re-introductions. The camp serves as a “training ground” for orphaned cheetahs that show good potential for release. The four females  will be monitored and fed by CCF staff as they learn how to hunt. Once they are hunting successfully, they will go to the next stage: their final release into the wild, still under the careful monitoring of CCF staff.
As planned, the three Chocolate Girls and Chanel were released on the 1st September and we just received some pictures from Rob in Namibia.  We released the females about noon.  The release went well – three of the females went out right away following the feed truck with an oryx in the back.  One of the females helped James by pulling the carcass out of the back of the truck and grabbed it by the throat in a strangulation hold. The fourth cheetah, Nestle did not figure out how to get out of the one hectare pen at Bellebenno but finally we were able to coax her out an hour or so later at which point she joined the other three girls who were already gorging on the oryx.  James, Matt and Ryan stayed out all night to monitor them. James will be training several of our staff in tracking and following.    Chanel stayed by the oryx near Bellebeno and the three Chocolates moved to one of the waterholes called Hog’s Heaven.  All look to be OK.
We also have Steve Austin here – a dog trainer from Australia, and we took the dogs over to the cheetah release pens to look for scat. He has spent over 20 years training detection dogs throughout the world – dogs trained for drugs, plants and fruit at the airports, as well as conservation detection dogs. Steve is training Carolyn who has been working with the dogs for several months, as well as training the dogs, Isha and Finn.  I am watching everything I can, and am filming the training process.  I went out today with them into the Big Field. Isha is amazing – she was focused and sat like a star.  Finn is not as structured – but he works the area better and finds what he is looking for – they are great and Steve Austin is amazing.
That was the same day we received a call from the Ministry in Otjiwarongo for a confiscation of the four cubs in Okakarara. The cubs are about one month old, two males and two females.  They were caught by a communal farmer a week ago.  .
Dr. Steve O’Brien, Chairman of our CCF USA Board, arrived last week and gave a talk at the University of Namibia on Friday. 
Last week we also had a group from the University of Namibia and the Ongongo College to learn mainly about bush harvesting and Bushblok.  The group was amazing – all biology and agriculture students – one of our past students and then staff – Fanuel Ekondo – was a part of the group!   We also had a professor from South Africa who came to learn about our goat dairy program and develop a grant with me to grow this project.  
Below are Rob Thomson’s photos and comments about the release. I will post pictures of the four cubs, the dog trainer and Uschi’s AI puppies separately.
Laurie and all

Chanel and Toblerone walk cautiously down the passageway to freedom.  At this point they are already past the inner gates, and stand just a few short metres from the wild.

This is the moment we've all been waiting for, as after years of preparation, the ever-bold Chanel, becomes the first to leave the pen and enter the world of a wild cat.

Chanel stays in the lead, her eyes fixed on the fat gemsbok carcass on the back of the bakkie before her. 

Hershey (on left), Chanel, and Toblerone are free at last!  Dr. Marker is visible on the extreme right as she watches a dream coming true.


Hershey samples the sweet air of freedom as she gazes into a distance that for one is not marred by a fence.

Chanel, Toblerone and Hershey dig into their Gemsbok carcass.


Having been the first to feed, Chanel (on right) pauses to look around, while Toblerone and Hershey continue to dig in.


A close up of Chanel, with the radio-collar that we'll be using to help track her clearly visible.

The stage is set.  In the foreground, Hershey, Toblerone and Chanel continue to eat, while behind them our videographer, Ryan, films the occasion.  Ryan will be joining chief tracker, James Slade, for the next two weeks, while he follows every move of our newly released ladies.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Chewbaaka work up today

We did a major work up on Chewbaaka today to rehydtate him. 2 liters IV fluids and 3 liters sub Q fluids. He has been having eye problems so we looked carefully -an ulcer in each eye. We also took blood to see how he is doing overall so we can plan more for his health treatments, especially since I leave for Europe and the USA in a week. Finally, working with Dr. Steven O'Brien who is here now, we took genetic samples for genome sequencing. Chewbaaka is doing fine now after an hour and half anesthesia. So am I!

CCF Trustee, Polly Hix, arrived this morning with our new Kangal livestock guarding dog, Aleya. She is two months old and is now with the little goat kids.

The leopard last evening was 8-9 months old. We collected samples, weight, and measurements. All went well.

The new cubs are doing well. They are eating and sleeping and are very playful when awake! So far so good.

We had a group of 60 students from a variety of schools in Namibia.

All else ok.

Dr. Laurie Marker
Executive Director
Cheetah Conservation Fund

Friday, 3 September 2010

Leopard and cheetahs oh my

We worked on Klein this morning due to leg lesions again.
Cubs doing ok. The little female drank from the bottle; the other three are eating from a bowl.
Off to work on leopard in cage at neighbour's farm.
Planning on working on Chewbaaka tomorrow.
Dr. Laurie Marker
Executive Director
Cheetah Conservation Fund