Archive for Misc topics

Term paper translated

Actually, this has been lying around on my harddrive since before I left the CCF, but only now have I had the opportunity to update my blog and upload the English version of my term paper Behavioural Studies On Cheetahs In Captivity (PDF, 253 KB). A slightly updated version of the German version is also available: Verhaltensstudien an Geparden in Gefangenschaft (PDF, 255 KB).

As always, comments are very welcome. If you have any suggestions or complaints, feel free to email me at 🙂

Also, I have uploaded a huge amount of images to my online gallery at DeviantArt. Please have a look at some pictures and let me know what you think. See some examples here:
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Not much happening right now

Except for the usual work we do around here, not much is happening at the moment. This isn’t unusual, of course – at some point, certain work (like doing the goat kraal in the morning) is routinely done. However, the last time I was scheduled to do it was on Thursday, and today I helped Tusnelda (one of the genetics lab assistants) with scat collection again. We even found something we think might’ve been hyena poop.

Markus got to do meat cutting down at the senior staff house again, and this time took my camera. Since I’ve not been on meat cutting before, I gave him my camera so he could get some video footage of the little ones being fed. Hopefully I’ll get to do it before I leave. The afternoon we spent entering picture data, both today and yesterday, although we did a lot less today yesterday than today since Markus, Veronika and I were busy leading huge groups of tourists around during lunch, and when we were finally done with them it was pretty late and we still had not eaten. When that was out of the way it was almost 4 PM, which means we only had about an hour left for the data entry.

Then today Veronika was supposed to give me an interview, but instead wanted to get on the last camera trapping trip for this year, so I let her leave. Without anything to do, Markus (who was supposed to be on camera trapping instead of her) and I joined Matt and Christina for another feeding run. Things here don’t always go along with the schedule – especially tourists add some more unexpected turns to the days here. 😉

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See spots run!

We ran the girls today! Usually, the pen the four boys (Little C, Ron, N’dungu and Shunga) are in is the one they use to run the cheetahs, since it is bigger and better equipped for the running of cheetahs. However, every now and then there will be an exchange and the girls get in there while the boys get the girl’s pen. This gives the cheetahs a little variety and also some time to rest after having had two or maybe three runs in a row (one per day, of course).

So I went in there and was able to record some more footage,  only that this time I set my tripod lower. Since it’s not allowed (and advisable) to crouch while shooting pictures and/or videos since the cats could mistake you for smaller prey, this was the best thing I could do to get to about eye level with the cheetahs. I’m glad it seemed to have worked 🙂

We also got to go to the feeding. Since we were four people besides Kate, one of the keepers, I opted to sit inside the car since it would become crowded on the loading area of the pickup. Besides, this allowed me to gain another perspective since I was able to film through the open window. At one point one of the males got so close to it I could have touched him if I wanted. However, since that’s not the best thing you can do with a hungry animal wanting to eat, I of course didn’t. Now, back to video editing… 😀


How to dip 260 goats and get a sunburn

“You’ll be on goat dipping. Oh, and you’ll be doing this until lunch.” – I was on goat dipping, but I was on it until after lunch. The goats and sheep were not always cooperative; it was hot and exhausting work.

Basically, what we had to do was to bathe the animals in water with a compound in it that is supposed to kill ticks, fleas and other parasites after they had been fed with a dewormer. This wasn’t as easy as one might think it was – while grabbing the young, small goats on their legs and literally dipping them in the solution was fairly easy, this became more challenging with the goats becoming bigger. Especially sheep were very stubborn and didn’t seem to like the bathing at all, struggling to come free and thus spilling about half of the stuff on our clothing. Not that it mattered that much, we had to replenish the solution every now and then anyway.

After one of the quickest meals in my life I left for Bruce’s and Laurie’s house, as I was again scheduled to help with the cub’s pen makeover. This time we finally finished and water should easily find its way down into the small river bed we prepared. Hopefully, working on the expansion of said pen will be less exhausting.

I also noticed I got myself a nice sunburn on my neck as well as on my upper arms… where I didn’t put any sunscreen on since I usually don’t take off my shirt. However, with all the water spilling on my clothes I decided to take it off. Not the best choice, as it seems… 😀

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Twelve hours on stilts

I sat around today. Literally all day long – our task today was to perform a 12 hour-long waterhole gamecount at Bellebenno. So we got up at 4 (okay, I admit it – we got up at 4:30 or something…), prepared some sandwiches, a little bacon for lunch and packed our hard-boiled eggs, then off we went at 5:25 (we had planned to leave at 5:15, but this… is Africa).

Markus and I arrived at our waterhole at 6:02 – and climbed our treetop hide. About 8 metres high, this hide is something for the adventurous. I myself have been up there last year already, but coming back to the same spot again was a nice touch. The hide is about one by one metres, and barely 1.80m high. Standing is therefore not recommended, but you’ll have to try every once in a while since there are only wooden bars in place of seats, so sitting requires a lot of body fat or plenty of pillows. Since we don’t have enough of the former, we decided to bring a blanket and pillows. Turned out to be a good choice since the morning was cold and quite wet; however, it didn’t rain as much as we were afraid it would.

Then the waiting began – waiting for animals, and whenever we saw one (or a group), we’d take notes of how many, what species, when they arrived and when they left. We also tried to determine the animal’s genders, and while that might be easy from up close, sitting up there at quite some distance from the hole doesn’t make things easy. We filled two pages during our observation period which seems to be a good average. We saw lots of oryx, eland, warthogs, a few jackals and, shortly before leaving, two giraffe. Not to mention the huge flocks of Guinea Fowls.

When we got back just in time for dinner, it started raining and thundering heavily. Still, it was a good feeling being “home” after such a long time in the field. Too bad we didn’t get to see cheetahs 😉

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