Cheetah Workup, 12 Hour Waterhole Count, and Cub Run
I’m in the third week of my internship here at CCF and work has not slowed down at all. We are currently in the middle of an international Conservation Biology course in which we have participants from all over the world including Brazil, Iran, Australia, England, Ethiopia, and Niger. These students work and come from many different areas and professions involving wildlife, but all have a passion for conservation. It is really cool and encouraging to see that people across the world care and are passionate about wildlife and its continued existence on Earth. They are typically busy all day with lectures and practicals, but we get plenty of time to talk and learn about what is going on in other parts of the world. I have met a lot of very interesting people.
Once a year every cheetah at CCF undergoes a medical workup or check up to ensure their health, to diagnose any problems and plan appropriate treatment, and to collect any needed data. These workups typically happen all at once in April but this year, three cheetah workups were postponed for the Conservation Biology course. Last week these 3 cheetahs were anesthetized and brought in for their workup like normal but this time there were students present to learn about how these workups are done. Although this was mainly for the international students, the student interns were involved as well in assisting Dr. Marker and our vet nurse, Rosie, in the workup. It was my first time doing something like that and it was really cool to be involved in that sort of work along side Dr. Marker. We all learned a good deal about how that sort of procedure takes place and the course students really seemed to enjoy it as well.
On Monday we did a cheetah run, but this time we ran the ambassador cubs. These guys are 10 1/2 months old and have a ton of energy so they run exceptionally well. We do it mainly for their health and to help them develop properly, but it is of course a great sight for visitors as well. We are trying to run these guys every three days, there are some of the pictures I took posted below.
Yesterday I went on my first 12 hour waterhole count. We all were dropped off (four pairs) one of four man-made waterholes in Bellebeno camp at 6:00 in the morning. It was our task to observe the waterhole and to count all the animals that came in. Bellebeno is a fenced game camp we use for research, cheetah “soft” releases (the step before release into the wild), and as a food source for our cheetahs. We collect this data in order to understand how the populations within this area are doing so we can establish our own harvest limits and restrictions and to know how the ecosystem is doing as a whole. It was a great experience and was actually relaxing. Twelve hours in a hide is a long time but it went by rather fast and we got to see a bunch of wildlife, including a very large family group of giraffe, which is always great. There are some pictures posted below.
So far things have been great and have been getting even better. There are more pictures below and hopefully I’ll have so more pictures up soon. Please feel free to ask questions or comment. I would be happy to answer any question that anyone may have. Until next time…