Hi my name is Bill Young and I’m the newest “Volunteer Guest Worker” at CCF. I’m 51, semi-retired and my work background is in advertising sales and I hold a Master’s Degree in Marketing. I currently live in New York and have a winter home in Park City, UT where I enjoy skiing. Here is a recount of the first few days of my time here at CCF.
The posted daily work schedule had me on duty for “Cheetah Run”. Myself and two of the staff went into the cheetah enclosure and setup the run system; it’s similar to how they run greyhound dogs: an electric motor drives a cord around a pulley system on the ground. On the cord is a small rag and the movement alone initiates the Cheetah’s natural instinct to chase. It was UNBELIEVABLE to see them run, truly poetry in motion, their acceleration so indescribable, I was so moved by watching it that it brought a tear to my eye. The next work assignment was “Cheetah Husbandry” (care and feeding), so we went a few miles out to a reserve where the more wild cheetahs are kept and that hopefully will be reintroduced into the wild when their hunting skills improve and a suitable area for release is found. They ran behind the small pick-up truck as we stood in the back calling their names with their lunch in hand and after they got their exercise they got their meal; a very cool experience. We also checked the fence line to make sure warthogs hadn’t made any holes underneath and also drained, cleaned and refilled the cement waterholes. We saw more game in this area as well, including giraffe, kudu, zebra, and oryx. We then came back to CCF’s main facility and had clean-up detail of a few of the enclosures, picking up poop and bones: thank god my years of experience of picking up after my golden retriever made me pre-qualified for that job!
Got to work the “Cheetah Run” again in the morning, what a thrill to see them run! Then we went out to do the Cheetah Husbandry work for all the other Cheetahs at CCF. In the afternoon I got to meet and feed the Okakarara Ambassador cheetahs, four siblings that came to the center when they were 3.5 weeks old. They have been hand-raised and will act as the Ambassadors for CCF, an important educational role. I hear they put on a good show when they run, as they are still quite young (21 months) and full of energy. They will be running on Friday and I will be there to help – very exciting! Tomorrow we’re going out to check the camera traps (that automatically take pictures when animals pass them): another day, another experience.
All the best to you all!!
Having been here just a week and having seen, done and learned so much already,
I can say that I will no longer think of my donations to CCF as donations
but rather an investment, an investment in the survival of the Cheetah.
Photos copyright © Cheetah Conservation Fund 2012