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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Thanks to all...

Wow, what a day!  We started the morning doing the necropsy on Chewbaaka. What we found, we could not have seen before.  He had gone septic.  Some of his organs were in great shape for his age, like his heart and liver, his kidneys did not look that bad, his lungs and his spleen were not very healthy, showing abscesses. It was a very sad morning, however, to see is to then know what he was dealing with.  We are all indeed sad. Thanks to Allison and Patricia to put out all the information to everyone about his passing and the emails that we are getting are all very nice. So many people felt a relationship with Mr. C. and cherish their moments with him while visiting us.  He was so amazing and never a day passed that Bruce nor I did not cherish with him. 
Our life has a hole, we walk past his area, and he is not there.  He used his compound to watch where Bruce and I were daily and positioned himself in strategic areas.  We would talk to him all the time, and if we walked past him and did not say Hi – he would always make himself known - he is not there.  It’s not just us, all of CCF staff are hurting.  He was such an icon. He was always at the entrance of the Education Centre – to greet our guests and sleep next to their office – our staff is missing him.  Coming home last night, we greeted by our two scat finding dogs, and they spent the evening telling me that something was wrong.  The OK Cubs keep looking into where Mr. C should be – Tiger Lily, my baby, just wants to be next to me. The Stars, were all around last night and today – sort of clingy. We are sad.
However, it’s hard to be sad when we have so much to do.  It was great that our two Smithsonian  vets were here for the 4-hour necropsy. They did great working with Anne (CCF geneticist/vet) and Anna (CCF vet).  Anna and Anne have worked so closely with me and Bruce for the past month… Chewbaaka would have been proud at how gently and caring he was worked on.  
And then at around 2pm our day started!  We began the medical workups on the five cheetahs that were scheduled for annual physicals today – a bit of a push, however, the cats were boxed already, some from Bellebenno – 45 minutes away – so we doubled up and at one point did a male and female almost simultaneously.   The males, Ombdillo, and Chester, both had good sperm.  Health wise they were good. The three females, Rosie, an old friend, looked great for her older age and Solo, also an older cat – and Xena – one of the younger females living in Bellebenno – all were in great condition. We finished by sunset.
A sad day followed by a long busy day reinforcing why we are here. I am truly glad that Allison is here with us – things always are at the right place and time – Cheetah Time.  If only I could turn back time – but instead all of us are making Cheetah Time – for their future. 
Thanks all for your kind and soothing words in every e-mail I have read.
All the best,


  1. Dear Laurie

    I feel a pain deep inside, as all of you in CCF.
    Chewbaaka had been more than a symbol. I know people here in Greece where i live, who don't even know where Namibia is, but the knew Laurie and Chewee !!!
    Please don't look down, look up, keep the faith !
    Chewbaaka had it all-thanks to you-. He helped make your work for the cheetahs known all over the world. He was the best image/icon/symbol/ambassador. He helped awaking people all over the world about the fight you give daily for these magnificent cats.
    I know that such times words can't really say anything.
    But please be sure that all of us, who love cheetahs,CCF,Laurie and Chewbaaka, we'll continue to be by your side.
    Just command and will be done...

    Dimitris Karagiannakis
    Sun Microsystems Certified Java Programmer

  2. I cried when I read the news. I have never met Chewbaaka in person, but I had the pleasure of knowing him in Spirit and stories.
    True to his nature, his is still giving and I suspect he will continue to give for a very long time.

  3. Dear Laurie,
    If only wish that I could help you with this terrible loss. I know how it feels to lose a beloved animal; the emptiness in your heart, the memories that continue to take over your mind, and the feeling of not being able to stand the loss..
    Chewbaaka was more than a beautiful cat, he was a spirit. Ater being with him for only a short period of time, I just felt it; wisdom, beauty and grace just seemed to radiate from him. I believe that his spirit will always be with you and protect you as he did while he was on earth. When he walked with you, he didn't look straight ahead, he looked right and left checking for danger. You were so lucky to have him and you always will.
    God bless you. I am so looking forward to seeing you in May
    Nancy V