Cheetah rescue and care stay top priority at Cheetah Conservation Fund
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) located on a farm in the Otjiwarongo district, reported this week that it continues with its core activities despite the severe restrictions imposed by the government’s country-wide lockdown.
On 05 May, the first call from a local farmer were received via the Farmer Helpline at the CCF East Carnivore Conflict Field Station requesting assistance with two cheetahs caught in a trap at a game camp. CCF immediately contacted the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism since the CCF staff could not travel due to the lockdown. Two ministry rangers then went and collected the cheetahs and brought them to the CCF Field Research & Education Centre in Otjiwarongo.
Although operating only on a skeleton staff, the CCF cheetah scientists conducted a thorough examination of the two unfortunate animals. They weighed and measured them, drew blood and tissue samples, and photographed each cat, same as would be done under normal operating conditions.
CCF founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker said “the procedures went very smoothly thanks to our well-trained team. The two adult male cheetahs were trapped on a game farm and were in excellent condition. They will be fitted with satellite-radio collars and released back into the wild as soon as a suitable place is determined, likely before the end of this month.”
“I am very happy to report that both males are very healthy, and big – 45 kg and 47 kg – and they exhibit normal cheetah hunting behaviour by seeking wild game prey. Given that male cheetahs form coalitions with male siblings and live together for life, it is likely these two are brothers. The collars will enable our team to monitor the cats’ movement and respond if there is a problem, increasing their chances for survival,” she said.
“I can’t thank our team enough for the work they are doing every day through this difficult time. It is always very exciting to help rescue and return cheetahs back into the wild, onto the landscape they belong in. This is why Cheetah Conservation Fund exists. I am so grateful we can continue our mission through this difficult time. I would like to thank our donors for supporting CCF during this unprecedented crisis,” said Dr Marker.
Caption: Cheetah Conservation Fund founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker (middle) tries her hand again at some laboratory referencing, helpfully assisted by two experienced cheetah keepers. With the country-wide lockdown, the fund’s centre at Otjiwarongo operated on a skeleton staff but still managed to handle the wildlife crises that came their way.
Caption: Two male cheetahs recently caught in a trap in the Gobabis district, had to be examined, weighed and tagged, all while the CCF Centre at Otjiwarongo operated with only a small number of staff members.