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Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Eventful Week at CCF-Namibia

There were three significant cheetah events which occurred this week.  Specifically, CCF rescued three new cheetah cubs and then a large male cheetah whose life was threatened by a wary farmer.  His eventual release also took place.
CCF was called by a farmer who claimed he had no choice but to shoot a female cheetah that allegedly killed a goat from his farm.  If this was the case, then naturally the mother was using the 'kill' to feed her four cubs.  Unfortunately, one cub was killed also.  After their arrival at CCF, the three cubs were thoroughly examined and placed in a quarantine pen which was prepared for them.  Estimates place the male and two female cubs at approximately 6-9 months.  I'll provide updates on their condition and plans for their future in subsequent postings.  Stay tuned.  
The male cheetah brought to CCF should turn out to be a 'win' situation.  CCF was called again by a farmer who said a cheetah had been stalking her livestock.  In no uncertain terms, she vehemently requested his removal from the vicinity of her farm 'for his own safety.'  CCF responded and brought the male cheetah to CCF.  He was thoroughly examined and kept a couple of days.  In the interim a decision was made to release the big cat.  He weighed in at 49kg upon arrival.  Accordingly, we took him to the big field beyond CCF and released him Saturday morning.  The spot of his release is far from any farms.  It is our hope that he will resume a normal life in the wild.  At the time of his capture, the farmer did not report sighting other cheetahs.  Thusly, it is probable that this male was not a member of a coalition and was doing fine living alone.  We are hopeful that releasing him in this new environment will enhance his chances for continued survival.
CCF staff encouraged both farmers that upon future cheetah sightings to please try to contact us first before taking drastic actions.

Until next, this is
Ron Marks
from Cheetah Land.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Land of Professionals

As I prepare for another exciting and challenging week at CCF-Namibia, I can't help but to reflect on the  professional staff, the student interns and the volunteers who seem to constantly pass through the gates at CCF.  My brief experience thus far has provided me with the opportunity to meet and engage many people, both CCF staff and current and future conservationist.  In just six short weeks the turn stile at the main gate has been swinging.  Two cheetah keepers have departed and now our cheetah tracker is about to transfer off to other challenges within the wild game industry.  Replacements have begun to arrive with additional ones to follow.  The various departments here all contribute toward the cheetah's survival.  The people who work with the cheetahs, the guard dogs and the goats, the tourism staff, the farm hands and the many staff members who contribute to the daily operation are all professional in what they do.  Each of their contributions play an important part in maintaining and promoting the mission at CCF.
When your stay here is an extended one you meet so many different personalities and folks from all over the world.  I have had the pleasure of working with dedicated professionals since arriving.  I have observed their activities and their work ethic.  For most this is a very serious job in a field for which they have chosen.  Caring for, learning about and teaching and educating others how man can take an active role in a unique part of conservation and preservation is experienced here every day.  The cheetah has survived until now and in fact, it's decline in numbers has been arrested over the last decade.  This is a milestone, but only the first with many new milestones lying ahead for Dr Laurie Marker and her team of professionals.  Every facet of this worldwide non-profit organization contributes to CCF's mission and the survival of the cheetah.  Beyond the staff many others visit here to be part of an arena that cares about the future of this world, it's wildlife and specifically, the cheetah.
It is such an enriching experience to see the number of interns and volunteers who are happy upon arrival and enlightened fully beyond expectation when they depart.  One can't help but to be amazed and thankful that so many others care about conservation, preservation, protecting the environment and saving endangered species.  CCF continues to be blessed with participants that believe the work here is vitally important and are here to make a significant difference.
Being here is rewarding for we see progress in the cheetah's survival.  But, we also see an energetic drive, a contagious enthusiasm, and a sustained dedication among staff and the short-term students and volunteers.  Much of this is also observed in the faces of the thousands of tourist and visitors each year to CCF.  They gain an understanding and an appreciation for the work that is done here and especially for the effort man puts forth every day to enhance the chances of the cheetah's survival.
I am glad I chose to return to CCF and have thus far had the opportunity to make a difference.  If you haven't yet, I invite you to visit  You'll feel good after you have.

Until next,
from Cheetah land,
Ron Marks

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Increased Activity at CCF Namibia

The past week and the ensuing one are a very busy time for the CCF staff in Namibia.  Firstly, during the latter half of May many student interns and a string of consecutive Earth Watch volunteer groups will descend upon CCF.  Preparations are currently being made to accommodate the influx in new cheetah supporters.  And this increase couldn't happen at a better time.  Apparently, the memorable rainy season of 2011 has finally come to an end.  At least we think it has since there has been no appreciable precipitation for over a week.
Secondly, there have been a number of cheetah movements here at CCF.  Several cheetahs have been relocated for a number of reasons.  Specifically, some have been moved recently for:  fence repair; aged cats with unique personalities have been segregated; some have been segregated for health reasons; and some have been transferred to closer facilities at the Eland camp.  A smaller number of cheetahs remain at Bellebeno.  Many of them are eligible for release back into the wild and so will remain there until Dr Marker and her CCF staff have the opportunity to evaluate their current status, health and their suitability for re-entry to the wild.  Re-entry is always a goal for CCF whenever the potential may be at hand.  This is an important decision and the cheetah's chances for sustained survival is of utmost concern.  We will stand by anxiously awaiting any decisions on which cheetahs might be released in the future.  Bear in mind though, that no cheetah will be released here or elsewhere until all agree that it's safety will not be at risk and it's ability to fend for itself in the wild is highly favorable.  Look for any news on possible releases in future postings.
Until next,
from Cheetah Land,
Ron Marks  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Maintaining CCF-Namibia

Over the past two weeks a number of interns have departed and a few more will leave us over the next couple of weeks.  Several more and the next EarthWatch groups will join us over the next three weeks.  Therefore, until more student-interns and volunteers report to CCF,  we will devote more time and effort catching  up with general maintenance, fence-mending, beautification of the grounds, and so forth.  Of course, the few interns and students remaining will be solicited for their assistance in performing these tasks.  
One of the newest ventures for CCF is the potential grooming of four young cubs to become ambassadors much like their dynamic predecessor, Chewbaaka.  Everyone who has ever been to CCF-Namibia or has been involved with CCF, know all to well the legacy Chewbaaka leaves behind.  It is hopeful that with the proper training and nurturing, one or more of the four 10-month old cubs could become Cheebaaka's successor.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of this exciting adventure.
With this I will sign off for now.  They'll be an early start tomorrow as we begin to transfer some of our female cheetahs from Bellebeno to the Elands pens at HQ.
From Cheetah Land,
Ron Marks