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Monday, 29 November 2010

An amazing Livestock Guarding Dog retires.

Tylee with CCF's vet nurse Rosie and vet Anais.
Last Friday, one of our best Livestock Guarding Dog breeding females, Tylee, was spayed in the CCF clinic. At 7 1/2 years old and after six wonderful litters, she deserved her retirement. The ovariohysterectomy (removal of uterus and ovaries) went well; vet nurse Rosie and I monitored her over the week-end. She is recovering in the clinic and will be ready to be introduced to the other CCF retired dogs in CCF's Boskop farm.

Two of Tylee's pups placed last month.
Tylee has given birth to 58 puppies throughout her life, and all them were placed in Namibian Farms as part of CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog Program, which is such an important element for non-lethal predator management. Since the programme was initiated in 1994, CCF has placed over 375 livestock guarding dogs on Namibian farms, significantly reducing conflict between predators and humans.

CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog programme now includes four breeding dogs (three females and one male) who will continue to carry out Tylee's successful work.

Dr Anais Herbert, DVM
Research Veterinarian

Friday, 26 November 2010

Taking care of Kangal puppy's hernia

Preparing Firat for the procedure
Last Wednesday, the little male Kangal puppy named Firat, recently donated to CCF, was operated on for an umbilical hernia (this is a common type of hernia in puppies), in CCF clinic. 
Rosie and Anais operating on Firat
Rosie Glazier, DVN, and I performed the procedure, which lasted no more than an hour, while CCF's Dutch intern Sanne monitored the puppy’s anesthesia. The puppy was awake soon after the end of the surgery and was back in the kraal in the evening with his sheep and goats family. He is being monitored and the stitches will be removed in 10 days. He is as jumpy and playful as usual.
Rosie monitors Firat after his successful surgery.

Dr Anais Herbert, DVM
Research Veterinarian

Cheetah Keeper's update to 22 November

Wild Mum update: Dr. Profitt, Otjiwarongo’s local dentist, was VERY pleased with how well the wild mum’s recent tooth removal is healing.  He said in a human mouth it would take another two weeks for the progress she has made over the past 2 weeks here!  CCF staff was very excited to hear this good news, as it means she is likely to be released once a satellite collar can be placed.  We are expecting to place the collar at the end of the week, and set them free!

Joining the wild mum and her two cubs will be two females that have been with us since March, Nandi and Tina.  The two females were deemed too young back in March for release on their own, but were old enough that they would have learned proper hunting techniques from their mother.  You might remember from one of our newsletters that one of the females had to have a toe amputated after it got caught in a gin trap and we have had to wait for the wound to fully heal.  The photo shows the vet wrapping up the leg after the surgery.

During this time, CCF staff have been feeding the girls game carcasses (some caught and uneaten by our released cats in Bellebenno), and keeping their distance to help minimize habituation to humans. Now the girls have grown and the female with the amputated toe has fully recovered and is walking and running normally.

The rains have begun for the season, and all the cats are thoroughly enjoying the cooler weather. Normally a day for a cheetah involves lying in the shade and enjoying a nap but when the rains come it stimulates them to run around and play with each other.

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US! And please don’t forget to Vote for CCF to benefit from Kruger National Park’s visitor fees.


Monday, 22 November 2010

The Bellebenno Cheetahs - Trackers' Journal

Student interns Ryan, Aymeric and Sanne are doing a great job monitoring the four cheetahs that are participating in this stage of CCF's re-introduction research in Bellebenno. We are delighted to share their personal impressions here! As the Holidays approach, we want to remind you that this and other CCF projects are only possible thanks to your donations. Please consider putting the cheetah in your Holiday Gifts list! Now, through 31 December, your gift will be doubled as part of our Year-End Challenge!


Day 70: Tuesday, 9 November 2010

I’m back in Bellebenno to meet up with Aymeric and switch with Sanne (tracking on left photo). The girls had killed another adult red hartebeest in the morning and were now resting. When Aymeric took me to the girls, they were all spread out in the shade of several small bushes. The hartebeest was in the center of a sandy clearing with the sun beaming on it. Like all the adult prey items that they kill, the girls can never manage to drag the heavy carcass into the shade.

As the girls rested, Aymeric and I did a successful giraffe survey on Shilo and then later an unsuccessful one on Fiona. Fiona is very cautious around people and ran further away into the dense bush when we approached her. Since our presence was affecting her behavior, we decided to abandon that survey. Aymeric and I also found a small white hair in snare trap #2 next to the main black gates; collect sample!

When we returned to the girls, Chanel was already eating. As more shade was cast over the carcass, the Chocolates then came to feed as well. We observed Chanel’s usual aggressive behavior when the other three approached, but they all alternated feeding and by 18:30, all four were resting once again. The girls’ signal remained in the same general area of the carcass so we left for the night. They are definitely starting to show their independence.

Day 71: Wednesday, 10 November 2010

After a brisk tracking session, we found the girls at 06:30. After the red hartebeest meal from yesterday, we expected them to go to a waterhole and then rest all day, but instead they walked around all morning through open and dense bush and on the road. At one point the Chocolate sisters began to play, chasing and tackling one another while on the road! We watched some exciting behaviors such as Hershey climbing a tree, all four girls allogrooming each other simultaneously and playfully chasing several warthogs.

When they finally went to rest under the shade of a bush, Aymeric and I did hair snare checks (negative results) as well as one giraffe survey on DIB, a sub-adult male and one of my favorite giraffes in Bellebenno! After he finished feeding we got closer to him and he walked around a tree, hiding and then poking his head out the side to watch us! It was hilarious and charming.

We went to CCF to work on data entry until 17:00 and then back to Bellebenno. The girls were not where we left them, so we started tracking and found them about 150m away on a kill! They hunted down a young adult male eland and were feeding on it. After the girls moved away, we inspected the carcass and we were impressed by the size of the prey, hunted probably during the hottest time of the day! 80m later we stumbled upon another kill! It was the same age and size as the first one, but this was a female eland. We knew our girls killed it because of the marks on its neck. Meanwhile, the girls rested in a shaded area, minus Toblerone who got separated while walking in the dense bush. Once Toblerone began vocalizing they all met up back at this kill #2 and stayed near it. We left the cats lying down by 19:15. Despite our disappointments about not witnessing these 2 kills, it was still a very productive day. It is refreshing to know that the girls are capable of killing older eland and not just calves, which are not a year-long commodity. If these girls move to another farm or lodge, we know they can handle taking down larger prey.

Day 72: Thursday, 11 November 2010

We found the girls this morning around 06:10 feeding at kill #2. Aymeric and I witnessed the typical feeding behaviors of these cats: Chanel growls, hisses or slaps any of the Chocolates who gets too close; Hershey allogrooming every cat; Nestle’s submissive yet invasive nature that usually ends up getting her swatted on the head. Soon enough, the hot sun ruined the feeding and the girls took refuge in the shade. Throughout the day, they moved one more time (~60 more meters) to find the best shade, and slept the rest of the day! Meanwhile, Aymeric and I did our routine checks on the hair snares (nothing, no hair) and we also did a giraffe survey on Geoffrey.

Day 73: Friday, 12 November 2010

About 1km after we began tracking on foot, we heard an unfamiliar grunting sound. We ran towards the noise and stumbled upon Nestle, crouched in the grass with her scowl facing us. We circled around to see what the sound was and found Toblerone, Chanel and Hershey surrounding a large animal. It was an adult red hartebeest (probably an old male). Nestle began charging at us; her head pointed downwards, and her eyes looking directly at us. She let out a deep growl, so Aymeric and I gave her space. Chanel had the hartebeest by the neck while Hershey and Toblerone were holding down its hindquarters. The hartebeest regained some energy and thrashed and turned tossing Chanel over its head and spooking Toblerone and Hershey. Chanel walked away, possibly because she got the wind taken out of her, while Toblerone continued with the strangulation hold. After five minutes the hartebeest was dead, and Nestle was the first to begin feeding, followed shortly by the others. The girls ate and slept the rest of the morning. But during lunch something happened that I have been waiting for a long, long time: IT RAINED! The downpour lasted almost 45 minutes with splashes of lightning and thunder. The girls stayed with the carcass throughout the storm.

Later we checked the hyena snares and the results were negative but we did manage to get good results for the giraffe project on Bullet, and adult female. It was a great day and the rain thankfully cooled everything down the rest of the afternoon. We left the girls as they continued eating in hopes that we would find them there tomorrow.

Day 74: Saturday, 13 November 2010

It was wet and damp when we found the girls still at the carcass. Chanel and Toblerone were picking at the bones while Nestle and Hershey were allogrooming each other. We watched as the four alternately fed on the carcass for about 1.5 hours. At 07:45, led by Chanel, they abandoned the carcass so Aymeric and I inspected it. To our surprise, almost the entire hartebeest was covered with grasses! Earlier, we observed Nestle and Hershey doing the awkward “pawing” behavior all around the carcass, but never before had they buried a carcass! This was so peculiar because once cheetahs abandon a carcass, they usually do not return, so covering it (preserving it or even masking the odor) seems pointless! It would be interesting to see if other captive-turned-wild cheetahs also perform this behavior. When we caught back up with the girls, we found Chanel and Nestle lying in a sandy clearing with many tunnels and holes dug by an aardvark. Nestle called for Toblerone and Hershey so softly and subtly as her eyes began to close and she was dozing off to sleep! Toblerone and Hershey emerged and slowly walked to Chanel and Nestle with Toblerone leading. As they approached, Hershey’s back leg slid down one of the tunnels, catching her off balance and forcing her to stumble a bit. This unexpected movement freaked Toblerone out, who jumped and then ran about 4m, which set a sleepy Nestle into utter fear. I have never seen an animal transition so quickly from quiet relaxation to hurried panic! She sprinted away into the bush leaving Chanel lying in a cloud of sand! It was hilariously adorable. When composure took over, all the girls laid together back in the sand. Soon it was brutally hot and Chanel got up and led the girls toward Sukkel Dam, stopping 500m shy of it to rest under the shade of a bush. At this time, Aymeric and I got to show the girls to some Babson Houser guests from Germany. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy hearing about the success of this project, especially knowing that part of the price they pay for staying at CCF’s Babson House is allocated to CCF’s programs.

The cats moved once more during the day to find better shade 100m away, until ~16:00 when they began to stir again. The clouds began to rumble in, getting darker and then the thunder started. It cooled everything and the girls started to walk, occasionally chasing warthogs en route. They led us to detour road where they started to fall asleep as sprinkles of rain came. All around us were sheets of rain and claps of lightning, but it only drizzled where we were located. Later the cats moved into the open bush and flopped beneath the shelter of some bushes. It was a refreshing day and night. Aymeric and I were surprised the girls never made it to Sukkel waterhole, but we think they had enough fluids from the carcass to supplement their thirst. We collected scat samples from both Toblerone and Hershey for later analysis.

As usual in Namibia, the weather patterns are nearly impossible to predict, but it was very comfortable having the cool protection of the clouds, saving us from the sun!

Day 75: Sunday, 14 November 2010

Another cloudy morning in Bellebenno, but the air was still hot, almost sticky. The girls were already on the move when we found them at 06:20. They walked on the road that borders the Dieckmann’s property. Toblerone and Hershey scratched/marked some trees along the way. This was the first time Hershey successfully scratched a tree rather than just putting one paw on it. She is learning! Nestle seems to be the only one who rarely ever scent marks. Toblerone and Hershey began to chase after a steenbok that was on the other side of the fence; their eyes facing the steenbok the entire 100m they ran! It was impressive that none of them tripped! Soon the Chocolates followed Chanel into the bush and even though they fed on hartebeest yesterday morning, they tried to hunt every warthog and oryx in their path; Chanel just watched as the Chocolates trotted and pounced their way to unsuccessful and clumsy kill attempts. Eventually Chanel joined and slowly began to stalk, carefully and very slowly placing one paw in front of the other. Only 30m ahead were two adult eland grazing on the yellow stalks of grass. Five minutes went by and the girls crept closer and closer but Toblerone got excited and began trotting to chase these massive eland, with the four ending up empty-handed. They walked more until 08:45 and went to sleep in the shade. Aymeric and I headed back to CCF and when we returned to Bellebenno, it was pouring rain with lightning and thunder, AGAIN! When the storm passed, we went searching for our girls. We looked and scanned for 2.5 hours with not a single signal. The weather may have been throwing off our equipment. After trying nearly 50 spots, it grew dark and we went back to camp. Tomorrow morning will most likely be a difficult one for Aymeric and I, considering we will not know where to start… However, we did have a great sighting of a large adult caracal.

Day 76: Monday, 15 November 2010

After a rainy night and with the clouds still rumbling in, we began our morning, and to our surprise we got a signal at the first place we attempted (Hog’s Heaven waterhole)! We could not believe it! So by 06:20 we found the girls. Chanel, Toblerone and Hershey were feeding while Nestle was lying 2m away and glaring at us. The carcass appeared to be a male kudu calf and the girls’ bellies were beyond massive! By the time we got there, Chanel and Toblerone were about done eating. They looked so corpulent and fat and wet and uncomfortable. When Toblerone flopped down she made a large grunting sound as if she just ran a marathon! Hershey continued to feed on the carcass, picking at the ribs and frequently crushing the bones. Nestle was so bloated that all she could manage was look at us with her belly rounded towards the sky! 35 minutes after picking at the carcass, Hershey (photo - left) began to “paw” at the grass! Like last time, she partially covered the carcass with loose clumps of wet grass. Eventually she was about 2m from the carcass, still scraping at the grass! She finally flopped and started to heavily pant as if the “pawing” behavior expended the last of her energy. Soon enough, they all started falling asleep with their heads still up, not wanting to put them on the wet grass. It continued to sprinkle here and there, but the girls managed to sleep through it. From personal observations, a wet cheetah is an unhappy cheetah! It rained almost the entire day and we sought shelter inside Jetson, our vehicle. The girls also found shelter under the thick canopy of some acacia bushes.

Our giraffe project is finally done! Our last subject to watch eat was Fighter, an adult male missing his left ossicone (horn-like protuberances on the heads of giraffes and other animals). Later we met with James to report on the girls’ progress. It was a great day, despite the gloomy weather.


Friday, 19 November 2010

CCF Volunteers and Student Interns are saying...

Thanks so much to our Earthwatch volunteers (EW) and student intern Jaimee (SI) for sending us their comments! To learn more about volunteering and internships, click here. --Patricia

Jaimee F., SI – Today was my first day feeding the Bellebenno girls, and it was quite an experience. Being so close to the cheetahs you can appreciate what magnificent animals they really are. Matt and Ryan were great fun to go along with. Listening and taking in both their knowledge and experience was a privilege. Watching the cheetahs hiss and spit at you while entering their enclosure is an experience (N.B. From a truck!) but the best part of all was riding along in the back of the car while cheetahs run along side and behind awaiting for us to drop them their feed. What an enjoyable experience and great way to start the day.

Feeding at Bellebenno (archive photo - P. Tricorache)
Ed P., EW – This is my first experience feeding the cats. It was a great opportunity to get close and observe natural behaviours. I experienced a variety of feeding situations including medication administration. Individual cats received specific feeding as required by the range in age from young to the quite old. The “personalities’ were also a factor in the feeding approach; more complex and interesting than anticipated. Thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience.

Rosemary J., EW – My first experience feeding the cheetahs. My overall impression is that much thought and knowledge has gone into the determination of the diet for each individual cheetah. It certainly seems that the prolonged welfare of the cheetahs is a primary aim of the program. As a volunteer I thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to do some of the actual work required to maintain the health of the animals. Being able to observe behaviour at close quarters was an added plus.

Ed P., EW – Oh, wow! I got a second opportunity to do some cheetah feeding. My morning started working with a team constructing an area designed to snare hair samples of passing through animals to support research analyzing those samples (mainly hyena). In addition to feeding the cats after my construction work I observed first hand some of the guard dogs with a flock of goats. The dogs approached the cheetah feeding area and one of the cats moved off in reaction to the dog’s approach. Each day of my stay thus far has provided experiences of the real life and effect of this great program. The relationship between the cats and their ‘keepers’ is most amazing.

Craig L., EW – Have spent part of these days feeding and caring for cheetahs at CCF. Most of the time the person in charge was Kate, sometimes assisted by others. Kate was always very informative about what the purpose of our activities were and was able to answer a variety of questions about the cheetahs as well as the ecology of the area. She always demonstrated a special interest in the well-being of the cheetahs and showed compassion for the animals. Although our feeding and cleaning activities at times brought us very close to the cats, safety was always a priority. A wonderful experience. I learned a lot and will take the knowledge with me. Thank you!

Barbot (Bobbi) McN., EW – I have been a cat lover all my life. This was my first experience up close with any big cat. The cheetahs are amazing and truly beautiful. I have been planning to come to CCF for two years and now I finally made it to Namibia and to CCF. This is an experience that I will never forget. I will follow the progress of CCF and will do my best to offer support whenever possible. All of you are fabulous with your care and support of these truly fabulous animals. The research done here will greatly benefit the cheetah. Thank you for allowing me to be here and to participate.

Craig L., EW – Another wonderful morning with the cheetahs, begins with assisting Matt and Kate with a run of the cheetahs chasing a lure, and then cleaning and feeding. These cats are beautiful animals and are very well cared for. The knowledge of the staff and interns is extensive, and all are generous with their knowledge of the animals and the ecology. A once-in-a-lifetime experience I will always remember. Thanks for the opportunity to be here.

Jude S., EW – This was my first experience of being even remotely near cheetahs – and that there’d be so many – feeding all the CCF cats with keeper Matt at the helm, what a brilliant experience watching how the staff dealt with them on the ground outside of the van, and respect showed by the cats and the humans. Being able to see the cats hiss and meow, then stomp their feet to demand to know why you are there – or more likely to tell you to get on with the show as they have seen all this before. The site of the cheetahs racing after the van – what a privilege this was (and hopefully will be again?!) - the breath of knowledge from Matt. This was all something I will remember (I have one picture!). Thank you CCF.

Helen N., EW – An entire morning with cheetahs will be the highlight of my travel experience. To see them display the beauty and grace of their magnificent body while running after a lure in a display of the speed they can use to catch their prey is exciting. Then going with Matt and Jaimee to the field to feed the ‘outside’ cheetahs gave me a display of other behaviours as hissing and the sweet meow when hungry, and either protecting their food or in a hurry to grab a meal. As a nurse I enjoy the means utilized to dispense medication and give treatment to the leg lesions. I am especially impressed with the involvement and dedication of the young staff, and their knowledge of the cheetahs’ behaviours.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Cheetahs' Update from Keeper Kate - 9-15 Nov 2010

Wild Mum update – she has finished taking her anti-biotics and appears to be doing well. Keeper staff have not seen any swelling or bleeding from the cavity, thus the staff is hopeful her upcoming dental visit on Friday will go well. (Read about her visit to the dentist here.)

Tiny Rohini has become more comfortable approaching the ‘feeding spoon’ during cheetah runs. She always delights our visitors with her beautiful running display. Now she has been entertaining people with her ‘charming’ demeanour. She is still hesitant around groups of people, but is very food motivated. Whenever she sees Harry and Hermione sitting, receiving treats, Tiny Rohini decides she doesn’t want to miss out on the fun. Instead of sitting patiently like Harry and Hermione, she will slink over to the spoon, hiss/growl, take the food, and run a few steps away before starting the whole process over again. Her feisty character is quickly gaining her favour among all who meet her.

Until soon,


Saturday, 13 November 2010

The CCF Ecology Team reports

Bellebenno release – The girls are going well and have not killed for a few days. Last week they killed a Red Hartebeest and an Eland calf. In typical cheetah behaviour, they are the most active during the cooler hours of the day and prefer to spend their midday under a shady tree. Meantime, Matti is almost finished with mapping their weekly movements around the release site so it will be exciting to see how they are progressing.

Ryan and Aymeric are still working on data entry whenever they are back in the office. They have continued with the giraffe feeding ecology project when the cats are sleeping. So far they have over 20 focal samples (which is a really good effort).

Camera traps are going well. Last week they captured some great pictures including a leopard (photo - left) that is living in the Boskop area and a coalition of two wild male cheetahs that live in Bellebenno. And this week the camera picked up some pictures of a Mother cheetah and four large cubs next to the big field (photo-below). This is the first time we have seen them in any of our traps, so it is pretty exciting. Summer is in full swing here in Namibia and the weather is hot and dry. We are looking forward to the rainy season to start as a couple of the dams are drying up. We do have the man-made troughs for the animals but naturally we'd prefer the rains to start. Cameras are being left at dry dams for a week while the animals are still visiting and then we are moving them to other locations.

Student Intern, Sanne Kreijtz from van Hall Larenstein University in the Netherlands has been working on an ongoing project burning hair samples that have been taken from wild cheetah scat. The hair is extracted, washed and burnt into a plastic slide and then analysed under a microscope to see what the cheetahs are eating.

CCF's 2010 Biodiversity Study is coming to a close. The study has involved CCF Bush harvesting the acacia tree in areas with the aim of improving the habitat for the cheetah. The process has to be monitored closely to minimise any negative impact or loss of biodiversity in the areas. We are looking at how the local birds, reptiles and mammals, especially wild cheetahs, respond to the newly harvested area.

Finally, we have Earthwatch volunteers here for this week, so the next two weeks will be quite busy with game counts and data entry. They are always such a good bunch of people. One of them has, amazingly, been on 42 previous Earthwatch expeditions!

Best wishes from Namibia,


Thursday, 11 November 2010

The NamibRand Female Cheetah travelling far! 10/Nov 2010

The collar seems to have improved this week, and we have seven points for the last seven days.  I should have given us fourteen, but at least it's better than last week.  

For the first time in several months, I've had to add an extra farm to my movements map, this time it's Montana.  Our lady started off where we left her last week on Zaries.  By Sunday however she'd moved further east onto Zaries -Oos and stayed there through Monday.  Yesterday she ventured for the first time, south onto Montana, apparently following a dry riverbed.  As of 04:36 this morning however, she appears to be retracing her footsteps north, although she is still just on Montana.  At that time she was 2 km south of the C19 and 22 km east of the NRNR border on the same latitude as the Keerweder Pan and Jagkop waterhole. 



NB: Cheetahs are naturally wanderers. In Namibia, they have the largest home ranges of any cheetah population studied to date.  CCF’s research has found that cheetah home ranges often cover over 10 farms (averaging 8,000 ha each), and even greater for females with cubs.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Cheetah Goes to the Dentist - A visitor's report.

Thanks to Marisa Y. Katnic (CCF San Diego Chapter Treasurer) for contributing to our blog (Thursday, November 4, 2010)

I'm in Namibia and LOVING it! Laurie and Bruce are most gracious and I feel the heartbeat of the cheetah ... all around!

Our dentist appointment was for 4:30 p.m. An eight-year old, wild female cheetah is visiting the local family dentist in the nearby town of Otjiwarongo. She [the cheetah] and her two older male cubs (approximately 20 months) arrived at CCF about one week ago following a call from a farmer in the Okakarara area. (Read more about these cheetahs here.)

During a medical exam, it was discovered that she had a serious infection with her upper left canine and needed immediate treatment. After an x-ray it was discovered the tooth could not be saved with a root canal and was extracted. The dentist took exceptional care and local children watched in wide eyed amazement as the dentist carefully closed the area with about four sutures.
CCF veterinary nurse Rosie Glazier monitoring the anesthesia of the cat as local children look on.
Mind you, this dentist was the dentist you and I would visit. Incredible, isn't it? Overall, the cheetah is in good health and we drove her back to CCF where she is now resting and in Laurie Marker's good hands. When she recovers she will be released with her two cubs and those children that watched will surely go home and not forget to brush their teeth!"


Friday, 5 November 2010

Dartmouth Students Visit 4th November 2010

A group of students from Dartmouth College in the U.S. recently enjoyed a fun and educational day here at CCF. Students from Dartmouth have visited us for several years and we always enjoy their visit. They are a bright, inquisitive group and we appreciate their genuine, heartfelt interest. The day was a non-stop whirl wind of activity learning about the cheetah and the genetic, educational and ecology work done at CCF.

CCF's dog handler, Carolyn Whitesell (with Isha) discussing the techniques used to train dogs to sniff out scat.
The day started with an early morning cheetah run with Blonde Man, Smart Man, Ron and Little C and a scat-finding demonstration by our scat-sniffing dogs, Finn and Isha.
After successfully finding cheetah scat, Finn sits waiting for his reward.
Gail then introduced them to the new puppies Aleya and Cappuccino (Ushi's puppy) who live in the goat kraal with the goats and sheep. She talked about the Livestock Guarding Dog Programme and the dog’s role in keeping predators away from goats and sheep. A short visit to the OK Clan cubs Peter, Senay, Tiger Lily and Kaijay made the group very happy and the cubs were equally curious about their new friends.

The students are currently on a trip through South Africa and Namibia studying the relationship and conflicts that exist between human development and conservation.

That’s all from Namibia.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

CCF's Livestock Guarding Dogs: All good things come together

After looking for Kangal dogs for our breeding program for several years, this year we had an exponential increase in the number of these amazing dogs at CCF!

This summer we got a phone call from CCF USA Trustee and supporter, Polly Hix, who had found a German breeder, Kristina Peez of Sivas Guardian Angels, willing to give us another puppy. Polly brought the German female puppy (Aleya) in September to join our two breeding females (Cazgir from the SPOTS foundation in the Netherlands: 2 years, and Hediye from Turkmen Kangal Dogs in the US: 1 year).

The puppies with Laurie Marker, Patrick Couzinet and CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog Handler Carolyn Whitesell. 
Around the same time we were contacted by a French breeder, Anne Hupel from Bonnie Blue Flag who offered us two puppies. We picked a male (Firat) and a female (Feliz) puppy from two different litters born this summer; the male is going to allow us to use natural insemination with our Kangal females in the future, meanwhile we will use the semen that was generously donated to us last year by Tamara Taylor. As we were looking into options to get the two French puppies over to CCF, our good friend and member of the Leadership for Conservation in Africa (LCA), Patrick Couzinet (photo above), offered to get a roundtrip from France to Namibia in order to bring the puppies to us. All we needed to do was wait for the youngest French puppy to turn two months at the end of October in order to be old enough to travel. Finally, this past weekend the two puppies Firat and Feliz, arrived at CCF, escorted by Patrick who stayed with us at the center for 1 1/2 days. Firat and Feliz have settled nicely into life in the kraal (photo below), and are doing well living with the goats and sheep. Little Firat is a smart boy--he already has figured out that the best way to cool off in the heat is to lie in the water troughs, which is what the adult dogs in the kraal do. Feliz is old enough that in the next week she will start going out with the herd during the day.

These three new Kangal puppies provide new bloodlines for our successful Livestock Guarding Dog program. As a rare breed, CCF is one of the few places in the world using these dogs for what they were breed to do for the past 5,000 years in Turkey, protect livestock from predators. The Kangal breed is an amazingly intelligent breed of dog and we are very excited with these recent puppy donations and look forward to working with even more Namibian farmers through our Livestock Guarding Dog Programme.

Cheetah purrs to all,


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cheetah Keeper Update

All our cats this past week continue to be in good health, and adjusting to the rising temperature.

This week we welcomed back Laurie, and as you already heard from her, it would not have been a complete welcome home without a call from a farmer from the Hochfeld region with three cheetahs ready for pick-up. Click here for the full story.

Meantime, our captive cats by the centre also have some interesting new neighbours, a pair of adult male warthogs!  Normally staff members would chase off these males to avoid fights between the cats and the pigs, except neither cat nor pig seem bothered by the close proximity to one another.  Eland girls Sandy, Dusty, Blondi, and Samantha can be seen lounging in the shade just 20 meters from the two males only to pick their heads up to watch the boys forage, before placing their heads back on the ground and continue their cat nap.  Even young, feisty Tiny has become accustomed to her new friends, and only watches them from afar. 

We will try to send some photos!