Following my life and work at the Cheetah Conservation Fund

The end….

My time at CCF for the summer of 2011 has come to and end. Since late middle school/early high school I have been following CCF and its work, keeping up with the incredibly successful conservation programs it has in place and learning all I could by reading and observing from 9,000 miles away. From the time I developed a true interest in the cheetah and CCF, it had been a dream of mine to one day complete a student internship at CCF. Now, I’m back in the states getting ready to head back to school and when I realize that I did just that, it doesn’t quite seem real. If you had told me this time last year that I would be spending the summer of 2011 in Namibia I probably would not have believed you. Early this past January I decided to test my luck and apply for the position and at 10:49 am March 14, 2011 I received the acceptance notification from CCF. Completely surprised because I didn’t really have much previous relevant experience, I immediately began sorting out all the logistics involved. I had a couple of scares in regards to making it happen, but in the end things worked out and on May 31st I arrived at CCF not really knowing what to expect. CCF does very well letting the world know what’s going on and teaching people what they can from a long distance, but it really can’t compare to actually being on site and experiencing things first hand.

Again, going into it, I really did not know what to expect but I’m being completely honest when I say I learned and experienced more than I could have ever imagined. So much goes on at CCF, from education and public outreach to research and innovative conservation programs. It’s such as fast paced environment that I honestly believe it is impossible not to learn and experience new things while you are there. An internship is required for my animal husbandry major Captive Wildlife Care and Education, and although I gained so much in regards to proper husbandry and things pertinent to that program, I also gained tons in regards to my other major Wildlife Biology and to life in general in the conservation world. Looking back now I am baffled at what I got to do while there. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Laurie Marker and the other staff at CCF for providing such a meaningful and beneficial experience. They were all more than helpful, and really do care about the people who come through to help at CCF. I shall never forget my time at CCF and even if I was never to return (which is very unlikely), it will always be part of me.

Sadly, this will be my last post. The summer is over and it’s time to move forward with things. I appreciate everyone who has been following along and I strongly encourage everyone looking into CCF even more. If it seems something you are interested in there are many many ways to get involved. You can help spread awareness, can support CCF financially, and can even volunteer your time on site as I did. Regardless of the method you choose to help, every little bit helps and know that even the smallest contribution is a step forward in the fight for the cheetah’s survival. Thank you so much for your interest and if you would like to help, all you need to do is visit CCF’s website at www.cheetah.org to find out everything you need to know. Regardless of your walk of life, there is something you can do. Even though this is my last post I’m more than happy to help anyone in any way that I can. I’m happy to answer any questions that anyone may have. Many thanks….

– Eli

Here are some pictures of the Stars running… these are the 3 cats that were cut from the dead mother after she had been shot. Very beautiful animals….

taking the OK cubs to our airstrip for a run
myself with the OK cubs
myself with Kaijay
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10 responses

  1. Must be very hard to leave them all – people or animals. I think you will never forget such an experience of life. THANKS FOR SHARING all your experiences there. And I wish you good luck for your next adventures and studies.

    August 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

  2. Margaret Wilkie

    Hi, Eli—Thank you for sharing your summer experience with me and everybody else. I know that they were very sorry to have to say goodbye to you for now, but as long as there are cheetahs in your heart, you’ll return to them again. All the best to you in your studies! Margaret

    August 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

  3. khrystyna

    Wow thanks for sharing a great blog. I’m sure you had an unforgettable experience. 🙂

    August 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  4. Vickie Weber

    you had the luckiest job in the world!! What I wouldn’t give to be able to get up close and personal with a cheetah.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm

  5. Dan Rockett

    Eli,

    Life is a treasure only if it can be shared.
    May you be remembered by the lthose you have allowed this privilege.

    “Animals know love”, Marty Stouffer (sp?).

    Hope your travels include New Zealand soon.

    See more talented young people; search: Adam Swanson, Luca Sestak, Durning String Band on http://www.youtube.com

    Best regards,

    Dan

    August 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm

  6. Eli, thanks for taking the time to share your experience at CCF. Your stories were beautifully shared and your photos total eye-candy! Good luck to you and please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing with your future studies! Cheetah purrs to you!

    August 19, 2011 at 1:12 am

  7. Thanks for allowing us to live vicariously through you. We’ve enjoyed your informative and entertaining posts and wish you the best with all your future endeavors.

    August 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

  8. Mark Poósz

    Hi Eli, I have been following your blog since the start and you proved me that my dream is possible. I have noticed a lot of similarities between us, It is going to be my last year in middle school and I already found an university where I could graduate as something like wildlife conservationist engineer if I went there. I also plan to go to CCF as an intern student while attending that school like you did. And as you wrote, CCF is a place where I can imagine myself living, working, and helping the cheetahs. So all in all I hope I will get there somehow and maybe we will even meet there :).

    August 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    • ehwalker91

      Hey Mark,
      Never give up on your dreams and always do your best at all you do and you will go far. The key is to not accept average and the norm, but to always shoot for all you can do. You don’t have to be a genius, but as long as you always do your best you will succeed. Best of luck, I remember being in your position… let me know if you have any questions!

      Eli

      August 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  9. Victoria

    Eli,
    These photos are beyond stunning. Your work is something I greatly admire.

    Victoria

    September 27, 2012 at 1:27 am

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