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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cheetah Update from Laurie

Chester, one of the Bellebenno cheetah males currently participating in CCF’s re-wilding programme, was wounded a few days ago, so we took him out for treatment – he was bitten on his leg and foot and he needed antibiotics. He is about ready to go back out with the group. The males have been hunting very well – they caught a steenbok on Sunday and a warthog the day before – and they are moving around more, about 3 km per day.

Remember the cubs we got about two months ago, and the female with two cubs from the game farm we got more recently? All five cubs are about the same age, so for over a week I have been working daily to get the group together and make a new family, which has worked out very well. Yesterday we fitted the mom with a satellite collar and will work towards a release in the next couple days. We have been monitoring them via camera traps and it has been really exciting to see them all eating together.

Cheetah mom with her larg(er) family. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund.
Uschi’s puppies are walking around now, and the international course participants have all left -- they were a great group, just like the Earthwatch group who arrived on Sunday. Meanwhile, we have hosted several film crews. The last few days we had a TV crew from NBC TV Namibia linked to the Deutsche Welle, and then one from Africa TV that did a story about International Cheetah Day and interviewed our international course participants.
Uschi's puppies - their first steps. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund.
The course participants also got to take part in two work ups on two of CCF's resident cheetahs with dental problems: Solo, an 11-year old female who had an abscess associated with the root of one of her maxillary (upper) pre-molar teeth, and Padme, a 4-year old female with a broken upper canine.

For many of the participants this was the first time to witness a medical procedure with an immobilized wild carnivore, so it was not only helpful for the two animals to have their dental issues resolved, it was also a great learning opportunity for our course participants who were here from eight cheetah-range countries.
International Course Participants assist with Padme's work up. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund.
The dentist from Otjiwarongo, Dr. Dennis Profitt (who has worked upon many of CCF’s cheetahs over the years!) came to the CCF clinic to take care of both problems. Solo's abscess was surgically incised and she is now on antibiotics on her way to recovery. Padme had a root canal and can keep her very important upper canine tooth, an essential tooth for catching and holding prey when hunting in the wild. Thank you Dr. Profitt!

Undoubtedly a very busy week!

Cheetah purrs to all,

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