Following my life and work at the Cheetah Conservation Fund

Hi-Fi Kill and Picnic Dam Waterhole Count

Quite a lot took place last week here at CCF. Early in the week, as I was walking to the main center in the morning from Lightfoot Camp (where I stay half the time here), I discovered an oryx that had been killed by some predator, most likely a cheetah. The animal was chased into the Eland cheetah pen fence where it was caught, killed, and eaten. It slightly bent the fence, and the horns of the oryx were caught in the electrical part of the fence, so I had to move it. The four girls in the Eland pen appeared to have been standing right there since the kill, wishing they could have gotten to it. Poor girls were so close yet so far away to a wonderful fresh oryx! I assume they heard the kill happening and investigated, resulting in having to stand and watch as a wonderful meal was consumed without getting the opportunity to take part. Because of this, I found our lead keeper Juliette, informed her and we went and removed the kill. Later on, we checked the camera trap in that area and sure enough Hi-Fi (the cheetah I have been tracking) was around with a bloody face and huge belly. I’ve never seen a wild kill before, so this was very exciting. There is a picture below…. and just for a warning it is graphic.

One of the Eland girls trying to get at the kill

Last weekend we had our annual waterhole count of all the 25 waterholes on CCF property. There were 50 volunteers here to count so it was a very busy and active weekend. I was fortunate enough to be placed at Picnic Dam, which is the waterhole closest to the the Waterburg Plateau and deepest in the Rhino Reserve. Rhinos, leopards, and a variety of other carnivores are spotted here, so I knew we were going to have the chance to see some rare sights. Sure enough at around 11 am, a black rhino shows up. Very few people here at CCF have seen one of our 6 or so rhinos so we were very lucky to get the sighting. And to make things even better, at about 4:45 pm, and huge male leopard shows up. Both of these guys walk around the dam (what they call ponds here in Namibia), and spend quite some time right next to the hide only about 50 feet away, so we got some great photo opportunities. Earlier during the count and African Hawk lands on a tree right next to the hide with a kill, which was really neat as well. We got some great photos of that as well. I’ve posted pictures below of all these sightings. All in all, I saw less animals at this count than at the other counts I have done, but the animals we saw here were much cooler so this was by far the best waterhole count of the summer.

My time is coming to a close here at CCF with only about a week and a half left. I’m looking forward to being back in the States, but I’m dreading leaving the things I have come to love here at CCF. It’s been a great experience, but I do have a bit of time left. There will only be a couple of updates to come until I’ll be signing off for good, but no need to worry about that just yet. I’m open to any questions and comments. Until next time….

– Eli

This would have been a great image if I had managed to get it in focus…. I still like it though
After marking a ground rub, the leopard rolled over for a scratch only about 40 feet from the hide

The view of the Waterburg Plateau from the hide
Picture of the hide we spent 12 hours in


8 responses

  1. Chandler Rutledge

    Eli, these pictures are amazing! I am so happy to see that you are having such an amazing summer, soing what you love! Keep up the great work, and I hope to see you soon!

    August 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm

  2. Wow! Amazing pics!

    August 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

  3. Enjoy the remainder of your stay. Thanks for the posts. Safe travels, Eli.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  4. I made a similar experience two years ago, but I did not have the chance to see a rhino and a leopard! Your pics are beautiful! Thanks for sharing! And remember: this experience will be unique! For me at least, it has been!
    Betty, Italy

    August 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

  5. Cassandra


    What plant is that with the giant thorns? I hope you don’t get stuck by one of those!

    August 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

  6. Mom

    Looking forward to having you home for awhile before you go back to Maine but sad that your time with CCF is almost over. It went by so quick.
    I am also disappointed that there will not be many more post. We look so forward to getting them. Your pictures are amazing. Why is the rhino called a black rhino? He looks white. Can’t wait to hear all the details of your summer when you get home. We are so proud of you!!!

    August 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

  7. Sandy

    Hey Eli,
    This is Sandy Askew. Uncle Jimmy sends me your info and pictures! They are just amazing, know you are having a great time and enjoying it all!
    take care!

    August 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  8. Sandra Arthur

    Thank you so much for sharing your time with the CCF. I felt like I was there under the skies, riding along with you and the cheetahs. I posted this to my facebook and retweeted. Hope this will help educate public and help the cheetahs.

    June 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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