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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Routine of a Cheetah Keeper

Greetings again from Namibia, Cheetah capital of the world.  I last posted three weeks ago.  Sorry for the absence.  Hopefully I'll be resuming weekly postings of my saga at CCF beginning today.

During my volunteer stint here I have had the pleasure of observing and assisting past and present cheetah keepers.  Remarkably these dedicated personnel place the safety and quality of the cheetah's life at levels comparable to their own.  I am greatly impressed with the sacrifices these ambitious conservationist make every day.  Amazingly, cheetah keepers maintain a long list of daily responsibilities and accomplish each detailed task right down to filling holes created by pesky warthogs.  Their life is devoted to ensuring that these endangered species continue to survive in captivity.  Many of the cheetahs do in fact, make it back to the wild, where they are intended to resume their survival.  Whether a cheetah remains in captivity or is later released, the cheetah keepers daily care for them requires the basics such as feeding, examining pen fences, cleaning the pens, providing water and observing each cheetah to determine their continued health.  There are many other tasks that the cheetah keeper performs.  They assist in medical care either by administering medications while feeding, or assisting veterinarian personnel during exams.  They organize the transport, delivery and return of cheetahs to their pens following medical exams.  Coordinating with key support personnel is a never-ending chore that is critical to the cheetah's survival and health in captivity.  Accordingly, food preparation, vehicle availability, road and trail clearance, logistical support for water, fencing and pen maintenance never end.  The keepers are also charged with subtle tasks such as close observation of each cheetah to see if their condition remains normal.  Changes in their status, such as minor injury must be noticed immediately.  Any contact with humans must be assessed by the keeper to ensure stress to the cheetah is kept to a minimum.  Routine checks of fence lines are basically a daily job.  In the wild there are many wildlife nuisances which like to bore holes beneath fence lines or they simply like to ram the fence or jump them, sometimes unsuccessfully.  Many of their daily tasks entail organizing teams to feed, perform maintenance and repair.  Safety is always of paramount importance when caring for captive cheetahs.  Cheetah keepers tirelessly work to assure this for each cheetah charged to his/her care.  Although the cheetah is a predator and should always be recognized as such, cheetah keepers provide care and safety to cheetahs comparable to that which owners do for their domestic pets.  In their race for survival, the cheetah needs a constant ally.  The cheetah keeper is just that, the cheetahs closest ally.
Until next, this is
Ron Marks
from Cheetah Land      


  1. Great blog, Ron! This is a great blog about the tireless efforts of our cheetah keepers, who look after CCF's resident cheetahs with watchful eyes and great respect for their wild nature. Keepers are certainly members of a great team of people --educators, scientists, dog trainers, etc. that are indeed the cheetah's best allies.

    Patricia Tricorache

  2. Thank you Ron! Your blog is on my desktop!
    Betty, Milan