It’s hard to believe that I’ve now been here at CCF for an entire month. So much has happened but it still doesn’t feel like I’ve been back that long. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Lots of pictures in this post so just keep scrolling!
So a couple of weeks ago I was working in the ambassadors’ enclosure just doing basic yard work (cleaning, trimming branches, etc.). I left to get a tool and when I got back waiting for me right where I just had been working was a puff adder. This snake is responsible for killing more people than any other in Africa so I was quite startled to see him there…. literally right were I was just standing a moment earlier. We caught him and then released him on our airstrip where I managed to get a few decent photos (see below). Puff adders are beautiful snakes and I’ve only seen one before, so it was great to get some photos of him. Next on the list… black mamba, boomslang, and spitting cobra!
Recently I’ve been trying out different recipes for ice-cream with milk from CCF’s own dairy goats. We already make cheese and fudge, but because we never get ice-cream here in Namibia I decided to make it myself. It’s not yet perfected but it’s coming along and hopefully sometime soon we will have a great recipe for ice-cream that we can sell to the public. CCF now has around 50 dairy goats (as opposed to the 7 or so last summer) and therefore we have a lot of milk to use everyday.
Back in April during annuals (full medical check ups on all the cheetahs here at CCF done yearly), our vet team removed a mast cell tumor from one of the ambassador cheetahs Tiger Lily. Unfortunately, the tumor returned within a month and last Wednesday we had to remove it again. The surgery went very well and there were no complications. Our vet Gaby and her team did a fantastic job at removing the tumor and all we can do now is hope that it doesn’t come back. After surgery Stephanie (one of the ambassador’s handlers) and I spent all day ensuring that Tiger recovered fully. She was up in 20 minutes after being injected with the reversal but was still very drugged up so we were there to just ensure that she didn’t hurt herself and incase anything did happen. She made a full recovery and is now doing just fine (pictures below).
That’s it for now. I’ll try and post another up date within the next week or two but no guarantees. Below are some pictures of the ambassadors that I thought you might enjoy. As always I am open to any comments and happy to answer any questions. CCF has a Facebook page which you can visit by clicking here. This is a great place to stay up to date with what’s going on here at CCF, so I encourage everyone to “like” our page. If you’d like to support the work we do here, please visit our website at www.cheetah.org to find out how you can get involved or donate (every little bit truly makes a difference). Until next time….
Every time I return to CCF, things are always a bit different than when I left. It is really interesting to see what changes and what stays the same during the few months that I am away. The main difference is probably the people at CCF. The staff are relatively constant, but there is always a new group of volunteers and interns when I return. You sometimes miss the friends you made that have already left, but there are always new people to meet. CCF draws people from around the world so you never know who you are going to meet.
I’ve just finished my first week back, but so much has already happened. I’ve started to fall back into my place here at CCF… doing cheetah runs, helping with the various maintenance jobs, center feeding, working with CCF’s ambassador cheetahs, driving for field/strip counts, etc. We are always very busy but it’s great!
This summer is going to be a bit different than last because I’ll be conducting my senior thesis research whilst here. Cheetahs use large trees throughout the bush as scent posts for territory establishment, breeding behavior, and other social behaviors. We call these trees “playtrees” and because they play such an important role in cheetah biology, they make great sites for us to study and collect data on cheetahs. Though we understand what cheetahs use playtrees for and how we use playtrees to study cheetahs, we aren’t sure what characteristics of these trees are important for cheetahs. So what characteristics of playtrees themselves are cheetahs looking for when they decide which trees to use? My project this summer will be to determine these “explanatory” characteristics, as a thorough understanding of these playtrees themselves will help us focus our study of cheetahs and will improve management/conservation of wild cheetah populations.
I’m just in the initial stages of this project, but I will keep you posted on its progress and development over the coming months. I’ve had the time to get some photos you might enjoy which I’ve posted below (including a couple from the most recent re-wilding: click here for more information). CCF is a non-profit organization so we rely completely on private donations for all of the work we do. So if you are interested in supporting CCF, visit the website at www.cheetah.org to find out how. Remember you can subscribe to this blog at the bottom of this page for an email notification any time I post something new. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions I can. Until next time…