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Monday, 25 July 2011

New cheetah cubs in the area!

We have exciting news. Remember the female cheetah with her 2-year old sons that we released at the end of February when the Wildlife SOS film crew was here from the UK? She had a tooth extracted and we put a satellite collar on her to track her (photo - above). We tracked the collar last week and found her and three cubs in high grass. Here is a photo we were able to capture of two of the cubs.


N.E. A cheetah's gestation period is about 95 days, and the average litter size is 4-5 cubs.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Chester the Cheetah's Knee Surgery

Hello. I am the new vet for CCF, I have been here two weeks.
Chester, one of CCF's resident cheetahs, was taken to the Otjiwarongo Vet Clinic on Friday for knee surgery. He had been limping for about three weeks. After taking x-rays last week, it was determined that surgery was needed.
Chester on his way to the Clinic
Chester initially had surgery in February of 2008, when he was found as a wild-caught cheetah in a trap cage, where he had been for almost a month, with a fractured femur (leg bone) near the knee. A bone plate was put in at that time to repair the fracture, and he has been doing well since then. A few weeks ago he started limping quite badly on the leg that was previously broken, and we anaesthetised him on 12 July to try and assess what was going on. Radiographs were taken at Axel Hartmann’s clinic in Otjiwarongo which showed loosening of some of the screws in the plate. Also the knee was very stiff with reduced range of motion and there was significant inflammation in the knee joint. We decided to anaesthetise him and remove the bone plate, since the fracture had healed long ago. The surgery was done on 22 July and was successful. The entire plate and all the screws were taken out (photo - left), with myself and Dr. Hartmann performing the surgery and Rosie Glazier, our veterinary nurse, monitoring anaesthesia.
Chester just after surgery.
Chester is now recovering in a small quarantine enclosure and seems to be feeling better already. He is standing and walking on the leg and is eating well. He is receiving antibiotics and pain medications daily in his food. He doesn't have many sponsors. If you would like to sponsor him, please click here.

Gabriella Flacke, DVM, MVSc

Friday, 15 July 2011

July: Celebrating Chewbaaka and Freedom.

All my colleagues at CCF Namibia are preparing for CCF's biggest annual event in Windhoek tomorrow: our fundraising gala, a Celebration of Speed and Elegance, which takes place every year in July and this year will honour the greatest cheetah, Chewbaaka.

July is a special month for us at CCF. For 15 years, we celebrated Chewbaaka's birthday, and for the rest of our lives, we will celebrate his life and legacy. I can't think of the many achievements made by CCF without appreciating the important role Chewbaaka played --and continues to play-- in cheetah conservation.

As it turns out, July is also a big month when it comes to celebrating freedom. 22 countries celebrate their independence in July, including the US and six African countries: Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Malawi, Egypt, Ethiopia and Liberia.

Thinking of Chewbaaka and freedom reminded me of one of CCF's great achievements: the successful re-wilding of several cheetahs in the last few years.

Did you know that the five Chocolates now roaming free in NamibRand and the Erindi Game Reserve (Toblerone, Nestle, Hershey, Cadbury and Lindt) were all born in July 2002? The five siblings came to CCF after having been caught in a farm near Otavi. Strangely, their mother was never found. We believe she was shot since cheetah mothers don't typically abandon their cubs. The males Cadbury and Lindt were released in Namibrand in July 2008 along with coalition members Mushara, Ra and Kia. The females Hershey, Nestle and Toblerone went to Erindi with a fourth female, Chanel, last January.

Seven years later, also in July, four tiny and scared orphan cubs (photo - right) that we affectionately named the "Scars" --Phil, Mischief, Tony and Polly, were born and came to CCF. We loaned all three males to the Naua Naua Lodge, where they have been enjoying life and educating visitors at this game reserve since last March.

So, here is to a very successful CCF gala in Namibia tomorrow, and to Chewbaaka and free cheetahs!

Happy July everyone. And please remember, the Chewbaaka Memorial Challenge is on, and it will only last through 31 August. Please donate now and make your donation count twice!