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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Male cheetah Klein receives Cryotherapy Treatment


On the 17th January 2011, Klein, 10 and half year old male cheetah was anaesthetized and brought to the clinic to receive his 6th cryotherapy treatment.

In late July 2009 Klein was first observed with two skin lesions. One was located on the left stifle and the other on the inside of the left forelimb. In September 2009 Klein began his first treatments and over the following months it ranged from oral anti-parasitic agents for suspected sarcoptic mange to a variety of anti-microbial drugs to help fight local bacterial infections. Despite the fact that this has affected him for some time now, Klein does not show discomfort from the lesions. He is now trained to move into a squeeze cage to facilitate cleaning of the wounds without the use of anaesthetics.

These leg wounds that have been caused by Herpes virus had shown improvement over the last few months. The previous cryotherapy was on the 2nd of October 2010. However, recently there was evidence of new reddened areas appearing. The anaesthesia was then indicated to assess the extent of new spots and also to counter-act any spread of infection in the wounds. Firstly the wounds were thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a swab was taken for bacterial culture. The results will determine which antibiotics to use. Surgical instruments were submerged into liquid nitrogen and then applied to the skin to ‘burn’ the affected areas. The lesions targeted with the liquid nitrogen were limited to the edges of the affected area. Once treatment was completed a topical antibiotic was applied and Klein received an injection to help with any pain and inflammation. He recovered well from the anaesthesia and was returned to his enclosure later in the day. A short course of oral antibiotics were given to prevent infection.

Klein’s lesions are closely monitored by the keepers each day. He is currently doing well and does not show distress from the wounds.

Monday, 24 January 2011

CCF Clinic work-up report on wild sub-adult male cheetah

On the 17th January 2011 CCF Clinic performed a work-up on a young male cheetah that was brought to the centre on the 14th January. The 22 to 24-month-old cheetah was trapped by a farmer in the Otavi region. The farmer had experienced the loss of 5 sheep in one night from cheetah. The young male was then kept in a secure quarantine pen at CCF until anaesthetized on the 17th January.

Namibian students and students from Van Hall University in Holland assist with the cheetah workup.
The procedure was led by Dr. Laurie Marker and Dr. Anne Schmidt K√ľntzel. Veterinary nurse, Rosie Glazier assisted and involved many students and volunteers in all aspects of the work-up. The animal showed no serious injuries except superficial abrasions to the nose, hip area and an ulcerated wound on the scrotal region. There was a cut on the lower gum, beneath the lower incisors. The samples collected included blood, hair, skin and ectoparasites. Measurements were taken; transponder and ear tag were placed. He also received a rabies vaccination, Frontline treatment and intravenous fluids. The focal palatine erosion was recorded as normal for both right and left on the upper palate.

Namibian farmers attending a course joined us in the Clinic to learn more about cheetahs.
The anaesthesia went smoothly and recovery was normal. He is now being held temporarily in the quarantine pen and fed an ample diet to increase his muscle mass and allow the minor wounds to heal before he is released.

More soon!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

CCF's Ecology Team reporting...

Well the New Year has kicked off and things are busy as always in the Ecology department. Unfortunately, with the recent rains and fewer people around, a lot of our focus has been mainly indoors and on the computer rather than out in the field. On the upside, the veld has turned green and our dams, many of which had gone dry, are starting to fill up with water once again.

Cattle Dam with and without water

We have been having a hard time trying to get all our monthly game counts done with the rains and the condition of the roads. We have managed to get our four circuit counts completed (two afternoon and two night counts), however, we are still waiting on some clear weather to complete out Field Counts and Bellebenno 12-hr Waterhole Counts. At the moment, there are lots of red hartebeest and oryx around, with large herds often spotted on or near the field. Our resident Ostrich pair and their chick (who is now at least 4 months old) are regularly seen near Vlei dam and seem to be doing well.

Red hardebeest on CCF's big field (archive photo)

Whilst Rob was away over New Year's, Rick and I were responsible for rhino tracking. With lots of rain (and therefore puddles) around, the rhinos are less reliant on dams for drinking water, however, we continue to monitor them through the use of camera traps at dams and elsewhere in the Rhino Reserve. We still continue to get signals and triangulate the whereabouts of Rhino 4. Rob is now back and will continue with our monitoring.

Our camera traps for the cheetah census continue to go well. After analysing our data for the first half of our year-long survey, we have discovered that we are capturing on average over 3000 photos of animals each week. In total, we already have over 7000 photos of cheetah, from which 11 different individuals have been identified. In addition to cheetah, we have over 2000 photos of leopards as well as occasional photos of other carnivores such as brown hyaena, caracal and serval. Of course, all these photos mean lots of data sorting, entering and analysing. Volunteers continue to be a great help in this regard. Without their time and effort the ecology department would be drowning in data.

Our wild male cheetah “HiFi” continues to be seen in the area. After trapping and switching out his GPS for a VHF collar in December, we continue to keep tabs on his whereabouts using a camera traps, recording fresh spoor and sightings. We hope to continue actively tracking him again soon.

Swing gates continue to be checked daily, however the rain and muddy conditions are making parts of the road undriveable, so some gates cannot be checked. Interestingly we are seeing a slight increase in hole production with the rain softening up the ground and allowing animals to dig holes more easily. The number of holes produced, however, is still much decreased from the level it was at the beginning of the study.

Our two interns from the Netherlands are both working very hard. Intern Jonas is working on looking at our farmer training courses in the past and designing a follow up survey to see how effective the courses have been in teaching farmer predator friends farming techniques. Intern Marjolein continues to work on a paper analysis if non-target camera trap photos can be used to estimate density of species.

We have recently received three new Namibian students. Kornelia (from UNam) will be with us for six weeks and will be involved in many different aspects of research at CCF. Eric and Gustaf (both from the Polytechnic) will be at CCF for six months and will be involved in agriculture and ecology respectively.

That is about all from the Ecology department


Monday, 17 January 2011

Cheetah sighting at NamibRand

Here is a photo of five cheetahs recently spotted at the NamibRand Nature Reserve which we hope you’ll enjoy!

Photo courtesy of NamibRand Nature Reserve

Friday, 14 January 2011

NamibRand female - update as of 10/Jan

Happy New Year everyone!  May 2011 bring success to all of us, and to the various endangered species' under our care.

The end of 2010 seemed to bring an end to transmissions, however the new year has brought further new data, so it seems we may be able to continue the monitoring at least a little while longer.

Interestingly, the female appear to have settled into a new den on Hammerstein, one she is spending a lot of time in, with occasional trips out.  She was there on 1st January, then trekked a couple of kilometres NE on the 2nd before returning to her den that same evening. On the 4th, she went her furthest, 9 km NNW and may have briefly crossed into Neuhof.  There's no data for the 5th, but the 6th saw her back in her apparent den.  The 7th saw her making a much shorter trip NW and remaining well within Hammerstein and since then she has remained within 200m of both her start and end points.

As of 10 AM on 10th Jan she was still close to the same point, 7 km due east of NamibRand on the same latitude as the Bushman Koppies.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

CCF's Cheetah Reintroduction Research Update

CLICK HERE to see our photo album of the release on CCF's official Facebook page.

After loading up Chanel, Nestle, Hershey and Toblerone at CCF on January 6, we began our journey to the Erindi private game reserve in the southern region of Namibia. We had previously released this group of four female cheetahs on the Bellebenno property here on CCF as part of our re-introduction research, and after nearly four months on their own, we recaptured them and began preparations for the move to a bigger and better home.

We started packing up the cats around 2pm, and just before 6pm we put the group into a boma (a 5 hectare holding pen) at Erindi. We returned in the morning to check on them, and around noon we released the cats onto the 70,000-hectare reserve. Kate, Matt and James put meat in the back of a truck and called the cats out, and though they were weary of their surroundings, all four of them made their way out of the pen and followed the CCF crew out into the bush.

While Chanel finished her meal, Toblerone, Hersey and Nestle went off on their own, and for about half an hour all four cheetahs chirped and called out at each other. The Chocolates eventually crossed one of the park's many dirt paths to find Chanel, and just a few minutes later all four of the cats made their way back over the same path and went into the park. Chanel gave us a long look as she crossed the road, and it was a very special way to end a very special day for all of us here at CCF and the staff at Erindi.

CCF's Tracker James is staying behind to help the cats adjust to their new home, and he will be working with the rangers at Erindi to make sure the transition goes smoothly for everyone. As of Saturday January 8, the cats have moved around their release area and they attempted to hunt a duiker, and they have also been stalking some oryx on the reserve.

Stay tune for a great video we are preparing!


Images courtesy of CCF's volunteer Elisabeth Brentano