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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Come to Paradise Wildlife Park (Browbourne) - Sat 31st March 2012.

Come and have fun with cats on Saturday, 31 March, at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne!

6 – 7:30 PM – Wander in the Cat section
7:30 PM – Presentation by Dr. Laurie Marker on the progress of CCF's work.

Tickets: £6 advanced purchase or £7.50 at the door. Visit for information and bookings, or call Louise at 01992 470490 ext 236.

Paradise Wildlife Park
White Stubbs Lane
EN10 7QA

Also stay tuned for Laurie's talk at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation on 26 March!

Spot you there!

The NamibRand Lady Cheetah is Back in Touch!

I didn't expect to hear anything further from this cheetah, or to be able to make any more updates, however the situation has changed again.  I've been able to re-establish contact with the satellite collar and hope that this will be the first of many more weekly updates.  


Since it has been a little while since the last report, I am including data for the whole of March and have also attached two maps (a close-up, and a more general area map showing where she is in relation to the NamibRand Reserve and Namib-Naukluft National Park.  


For the past several weeks the female appears to have been operating exclusively on the farm of Lahnstein and has been sticking to the river valley in the south of the property.  Our most recent data point, recorded at 03:36 this morning, places her 58 km NE of the NamibRand Reserve, 55 km NW of Maltahohe, 41 km SE of the Namib-Naukluft border, and 1.5 km N of the Lahnstein border with Kamkas.




Sunday, 18 March 2012

Amani's Annual Health Exam

On 7 March, Amani the cheetah had her annual exam performed as well as having some extensive dental work due to several broken teeth.  She had a root canal performed on two canine (fang) teeth, and one premolar tooth.  Performing root canals instead of extracting these damaged teeth will allow Amani to continue to tear, hold, and chew the meat she is fed without problems.  Amani was also found to have a lesion on the cornea (surface) of the right eye.  A corneal lesion is generally caused by trauma, for example walking into something and getting a scratch on the eye, or a piece of grass or sand that gets into the eye and scratches the surface.  Infectious conditions can also cause eye ulcers in cats, including  Herpes virus and several different bacteria.  Amani’s corneal lesion will be treated with daily eye drops and monitoring closely.  She is also receiving several days of anti-inflammatory pain medication and antibiotics due to her root canals.  Otherwise Amani was in good condition and all parameters on her annual exam were within normal limits.  She recovered well from her procedures and was back to eating meat pieces by the next morning. 



Saturday, 17 March 2012

Puppy Blog Udpate

Kiri’s puppies are growing up fast!  They are now six weeks old, and received their first vaccination against distemper virus, parvovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza this morning.  The vaccine is a combination of all four diseases, and each puppy will receive a series of three of these vaccines at 6, 9, and 12 weeks of age.  When they are 12 weeks old they will also receive their rabies vaccinations. 

All the puppies were well-behaved and hardly noticed their vaccines being given.  They are happy and healthy and cute as can be!




Sunday, 11 March 2012

Safaris, Cheetahs, Africa – The Best Way Is to Show ‘Em

Today we welcome our first guest blogger, Alan Feldstein of Infinite Safari Adventures, who recently visited CCF.

Safaris, Cheetahs, Africa – The Best Way Is to Show ‘Em

In 2000 I made my first trip to Africa. It was during that safari I fell in love with Africa and everything about it – the people and their culture, the animals, the natural beauty of the landscape. The first time a giraffe bent her graceful neck to peer into my safari vehicle – well, she had me at jambo (Swahili for hello). All I had to do was see it for myself.

When I came back I told anyone that would listen how amazing Africa was and that they had to go – tomorrow, if not sooner. Most would nod and say – yeah sure…someday. I would reply you have to see it for yourself.

But I could not shake my passion so I went back to Africa. Again, and again and again. Finally I took my son and daughter on their first African safari On that trip, I got the chance to combine a wildlife safari with my other passion – kayaking. I had become friends with our safari organizer, Steve Chumbley, on a previous African visit and discovered we shared a love of kayaking. So, during this trip, the two of us set off exploring in kayaks Steve had built himself. Launching off the coast of Tanzania, we explored remote areas no other kayakers had ever been. But even that was not enough for me. So, enlisting Steve as my Tanzania-based business partner, I decided to start a safari company – Infinite Safari Adventures. Now, when people tell me they want to go to Africa “someday,” I can tell them “Someday is Now!” And help them see it for themselves.

Seeing is believing. I will never forget taking my kids to pet gray whales in Baja Mexico. After the long bus and vehicle travel from Tijuana to Baja, they were, to put it mildly, not happy. But all the whining, complaining and texting to friends was forgotten when we first set out on the water motorboat. Within, 10 minutes, a gray whale appeared close enough to our little motorboat to touch (and kiss). The next thing I heard was that this was the most awesome trip they had ever been on. After witnessing a mother whale and her babies playing, you will do anything in your power to save the whales. My son is now pursuing his degree in environmental education. All he had to do was see it for himself.
Petting a grey whale with my son in Baja.
Last December I was one of only a handful of travel company owners invited by the Namibian Tourist Board to visit Namibia for the purpose of seeing what the country had to offer in the hope that I might add Namibia to our safari offerings. I jumped at the chance (I am always up for a good adventure) plus it gave me the opportunity to take Laurie Marker up on her offer to visit CCF. We had met at the Explorer’s Club where we are both members. We had gotten to know each other better when she visited Los Angeles and came out to my wife Diane and my house for dinner.
With Laurie and my dog Heidi who became a fast friend to her.
When I arrived I got to see CCF’s amazing operation and facility. I got to watch cheetahs run. I got to go with Laurie and feed a mother and her 3 natural and 3 adopted cubs. And I am proud to say I helped to release “Chester” in the Bellebenno reserve to be reunited with his 3 “bros.” The task should have taken an hour but because of the muddy roads it took four times that long. Using radio telemetry we found the other 3 “Jedi warriors” who met us on the road. Stopping the truck we unloaded Chester in his box. I picked up the back corner and as I did saw through a couple of holes the glowering amber eyes of one very wet, very unhappy cheetah. “Hang on Chester,” I said reassuringly, “We are getting you out of here.” And we did. Seeing a cheetah leap out of his crate to see his pals, and then turn with them to go out and live free – well you would do anything to help after that. All I had to do was see it for myself.

If you are reading this blog item you are most likely a fan of CCF. But no matter how big a fan you are you have to see it for yourself.

That is one of the things that make me most passionate about Infinite Safari Adventures. Taking people on safari to see wildlife, meet the local people and experience all there is to see and do is the start of “paying it forward.” One person becomes inspired, who inspires others, who inspires still others and eventually there are enough inspired people that cheetahs, whales, rhinos, elephants and yes, even lions whose populations have been decimated will have a chance to live on for future generations. All you have to do is see it for yourself. Want to know how? Just ask me.

Alan Feldstein
Infinite Safari Adventures

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Gooey the Hornbill: A Sappy Story

On 29 February, the CCF staff was having a normal lunch at the “Hot Spot,” our cafeteria and meal location. Niki, one of the ecologists, noted a recently fledged hornbill chick on the ground in distress. Gaby, the CCF veterinarian, rushed over to its aid, discovering it was stuck in the sap of the tree which had dripped on the ground. The feathers were covered in sap and the poor sticky bird could not escape. Together Gaby and Erina, CCF’s research veterinarian who has years of experience treating birds and other native wildlife in Australia, transported the bird to the CCF clinic for triage and treatment. “Gooey,” as he is now called, was anaesthetised and a tiny IV catheter was use as a breathing tube to give him oxygen and anaesthetic. He was tenderly washed in warm soapy water, removing all the sap from his feathers. Then he was thoroughly dried using a hairdryer to preserve his feathers, essential for flight. He was given warm fluids to keep him hydrated and stayed in a bird condo (a box with branches and leaves) in the clinic overnight.

The following morning Erina released Gooey at the nest site with his parents and siblings present. Contrary to popular belief, bird parents will take back their young even after handling by humans. Gooey flew into a nearby tree and started calling; and his mother immediately flew over to him and the family was reunited! Gooey has been seen at the nest box repeatedly since the incident and is doing fine! We covered the site on the ground where the sap had dripped to avoid a repeat problem, and Gaby’s cutlery from lunch the day before was still lying on the ground next to the place where Gooey had been rescued.


Gabriella Flacke, DVM, MVSc

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Vulture Close Up?

CCF has been using motion sensitive camera traps to record wildlife movements for many years. With the coming of the digital age however, the sophistication has increased considerably along with the quality and quantity of images. It can be a costly business however, with the best cameras ranging in price from $450-$550USD each, and every now and then, the very wildlife we are trying to track will turn around and shred the cameras that are silently observing them.

Last year a brown hyaena took exception to one such camera and chewed it to death, and on several other occasions cameras have been pulled off of trees and carried off into the bush by roving bands of intensely curious baboons. Generally the baboons lose interest within a few minutes, but finding the cameras can still be a challenge; they often sustain damage in the process, and one ended up at the bottom of a waterhole.
The hyaena got it. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund
The most recent incident involved a pair of animals working in unfortunate harmony. A warthog got past the defensive circle of acacia thorns that had been arranged around the camera, and proceeded to batter it off of the post we'd tied it to. Still functional, although now pointing skywards, the camera was able to record the subsequent attack of a lappet-faced vulture, who pecked repeatedly at the front of the camera and eventually wrecked the lens that covers the sensor. I can only assume that the vulture assumed it was something dead on the ground, and by the time it had finished pecking, it was indeed something dead on the ground.
Lappet-faced vulture extreme close up. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund
Through the kindness of one of our donors, we have recently obtained a small number of security boxes for the cameras, enabling us to increase the protection for few of them. These steel enclosures are custom-designed for each camera trap model and retail at between $40-50USD each. Unfortunately they are by their very nature heavy and therefore expensive to ship. None of the cameras they've been fitted to however have suffered any subsequent mishaps and we're keen to acquire more such enclosures.

We are also looking to considerably extend the range and coverage of our camera trapping survey and are hoping to increase our number of cameras in the next few months. You can help with CCF’s invaluable ecological research into Namibian wildlife by purchasing one of these cameras for us. Our preferred camera trap models are the Bushnell Trophy Cam Pro model 119436 ($200USD) and Reconyx Hyperfire HC500 ($450USD). For more information on CCF’s Ecology wishlist, please visit the CCF's Ecology Wish List page by clicking here.


Rob Thomson
Rhino Ecologist

Monday, 5 March 2012

Minja's annual exam and dental appointment

On the first of March, Minja went to Otjiwarongo to visit the dentist and to have her annual examination.  Annual examinations are generally performed in April of each year on all of CCF’s cheetahs, but since Minja has been waiting to see the dentist for some time now, we decided to combine her dental appointment with her annual exam so she would only have to be anesthetized once.  Dr. Profitt, our human dentist friend who graciously takes care of all of CCF’s cheetahs, examined her teeth and took several dental radiographs.  Fortunately she did not need a root canal!  Her annual exam included taking blood samples for overall health evaluation, taking a vaginal cytology to check her stage of the estrus cycle, performing an ultrasound (sonogram) exam of her abdomen to check her kidneys and other organs, removing all ticks, applying Frontline parasite prevention, collecting a fecal sample for gastrointestinal parasite check, giving her annual vaccines against rabies virus and feline distemper, and a general physical exam to evaluate her body and hair coat condition, feel her joints, and check her weight.  Minja checked out just fine, she is a healthy cheetah who now also has clean teeth and a beautiful smile! 


See attached photos.


Gabriella Flacke, DVM, MVSc