I arrived at CCF on the evening on the 29th of June, and it had not at all been a good day at CCF. In fact, it most likely was one of the worst and blackest days in CCF’s history. Sometime during the afternoon of the 28th a group of 3 cheetahs known as the Stars (composed of two males, Phoenix and Quasar, and one female, Soraya) managed to escape from their enclosure.
The mother of these 3 had been killed by a farmer while she was pregnant and after he shot her he noticed her belly moving so he cut her open and pulled out 4 cubs. When CCF first got hold of the cubs they were not at all in good health so only 3 of the 4 survived, but ever since they had all been really healthy living a comfortable life in CCF’s superb care. As they came to us at such a young age they of course had to be bottle fed and thus had remained habituated and bonded to their human caretakers and us to them. I was completely ignorant at the time as I was 300 kilometers away in Windhoek, but the morning of the 29th started with news that a cheetah was out of its enclosure. Phoenix had managed to wander all the way to the goat pens once CCF staff found him. He was noticeably confused but all right so they managed to get him back to the enclosure without too much ordeal.
Then the search for Quasar and Soraya began. Not long after, Quasar was found but he had been severely injured most likely due to an accident while hunting a warthog. CCF’s vet team immediately responded with a 4 hour surgery and overall it went well, but tragically a few hours later during recovery Quasar’s heart gave out. We think he had just lost too much blood than he could handle. One of CCF’s brightest lights was snuffed out that day but Quasar’s memory will live on and will be reflected forever in the work that we do here at CCF to save one of the world’s greatest treasures.
Soraya has yet to be found. We looked for an entire week and still are, but haven’t found anything. Out of the three she was most likely to survive on her own in the wild so we like to think that she has chosen a wild life for herself and hope that she is doing well living free at last. As you can see in these photos, the view of the stars over CCF is incredible. A new Star, CCF’s Quasar, has been added to that beautiful mosaic, there to remind all of us who fight for those who cannot fight for themselves to continue on with our mission regardless of what obstacles come our way. June 29th, 2013 hit us hard but we press on, determined as ever.