Archive for Misc topics

T+3771 hours: Term paper complete!

Good news everyone! I have finished my course work (“Facharbeit”) last week, and therefore I’m able to publish it here 🙂

The good news: it’s about some of the cheetahs at CCF. The bad news: it still isn’t translated yet, thus you’ll have to cope with the German version until I finish school and find some time to translate it into English.

But now, without further ado, have a look for yourself and download the PDF (248 KB). Feel free to comment on it or point out any inconsistencies you may find. My paper has already been handed over to my teacher, but I’m going to correct errors in any case since I plan to translate it in the future 😀

The grade’s due in a few weeks. If it’s not too disappointing I’ll let you know here.

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T+2692 hours: Goodbye, CCF, cheetahs & Namibia

I originally had planned to finish the outstanding posts as soon as possible, but school and other obstacles haven’t allowed me to do so until now. I’m fairly glad I finally was able to write the last two posts as well as this summary.

Our group of volunteers
Namibia was a completely new experience for me, and probably the best I’ve had so far. I finally had the possibility to be close to cheetahs, my favourite animals, talk to people with similar interests and become actively involved. The volunteer experience you get is so much more than just work – you get to know the stories of the people, cheetahs and the CCF, past and present. It’s not comparable to anything. You’d never be able to read or hear enough about it, you just have to experience it. I’m glad I got the chance to do just that, experience cheetahs and help saving them.

If you can, visit them! Whether as volunteers or day visitors, make sure you, too, get involved. Maybe you even want to help the CCF with its difficult task, I’m sure they’ll appreciate your help and I can assure you the money’s used for what they state to use it for.

I’m not sure about my future, but one thing’s certain – I’d like to return sooner or later (hopefully sooner) and help more. The cheetah experience has strengthened my decision to get more involved with conservation and biology, and I certainly will do everything I can in order to assist the wonderful and unique beings cheetahs are.

Thank you, CCF – Laurie, Bruce, Laura, Heike, Anne-Marie, Kate, Matt, Rob, Matti, Fabiano, Liz, you volunteer guys and all the others that helped and are helping the cheetahs survive. Keep it up.

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T+433 hours: Last day at the CCF…

…and nobody of us is happy about it.

Yesterday, apart from my usual work, I checked the camera traps together with Rob and Laura (I think… I’m bad at remembering names!) and in the evening we did our game count. Nothing exciting happened – all we saw was a bunch of rabbits, an oryx and the odd wild cat. I almost fell asleep, but not because it was boring, I was just so tired from the day’s work.

Today, Miriam, Hillard and my humble self had the task of cleaning the leopard, quarantine and center pens as well as doing the feeding. Kate and Matt decided it was time for two of the cheetahs (Armadillo and another one whose name I don’t recall right now) to get to know each other, and therefore removed a part of the screen separating two enclosures (of course, they didn’t remove the fence altogether).

Ooooh, and I got to meet the cubs! So cute! It’s unbelievable how small they really are, barely bigger than housecat kittens. They were very curious, noisy (constant purr) and so sweet. One of them licked my arm for a full minute (if not more) until it began to hurt. Hmm, yummy humans. Have some pictures!

Curious cheetah cub Another cheetah cub ...another one of the cubs!

The evening was not as joyous, though – we had a great barbecue with all kinds of meat (pork, oryx and beef, if I remember correctly). We said goodbye to everyone and also got a small bag with flyers, a certificate (I’m cheetah certified!) as well as a great personalized DVD with pictures and the ID records of most of the CCF’s cheetahs. It was quite sad, but all good things have to come to an end.

Tomorrow’s going to be hard – I’ll have to say goodbye to the cheetahs as well 🙁

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T+384 hours: Cheetah pickup!

Wednesday certainly was a busy day, but all in all, I didn’t do too much stuff worth noting. In the morning, I was busy doing the observations for my research project, and the rest of the day I spent analyzing and entering the data I gathered into an Excel worksheet. I also got a little more work done on the Waterhole Count, but I’m afraid I wasn’t a great help so far.

Some of the other volunteers already had the chance to pick up a female cheetah last Tuesday. Surprisingly, I was told I could leave with Daniel, Kate and Liz in order to fetch two cheetahs a farmer reported he had caught. I didn’t have to think about it twice, of course, and that’s why for this morning I don’t have any data for my report. A shame, isn’t it? 😉

The two spotted ones turned out to be cubs of around nine months of age, one male and a female. They had been fed properly and were nicely hydrated as well, but they had been caught a fair while ago. Reportedly, the farmer tried to relocate the two, but they kept coming back to his farm, probably because they had lost their mother. For lack of experience they decided to hunt sheep, and understandably the farmer didn’t tolerate this behaviour, so he caught them, but instead of shooting them he called the CCF and we went all the way from Otjiwarongo to Okahandja (about 200kms if I had to guess) and back. The gate to their enclosure was too small for our box so we had to remove the fence in order to get through, but it was well worth it.

Since they are so young they’ll have to become resident cheetahs because they wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild since they never learned how to hunt (except maybe sheep). I suggested to name the female cheetah Kisa (Suahili for “story”), but I’m not sure whether they already decided on names for the two. We did a workup on the two as well, and as I mentioned they turned out to be nicely hydrated and healthy.

I’m scheduled to do the camera checks together with Rob tomorrow, and there’ll be a night game count as well. I’m curious about the latter! 🙂

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T+38 hours: Arrived in one piece…

…and even all my baggage went through. Had some problems at customs in Namibia (I should’ve brought a pen with me) which caused me to be one of the last to leave, but I was immediately picked up and brought to Bwanapolis. We went in a rather cool-looking old Mercedes (way too fast, but nobody seems to care here) and I was told a lot about the Namibian landscape, the trees, mountains, how Windhoek consists of different sections etc.

Unfortunately, I’m far too tired to remember such a lot of stuff, and when we arrived at Bwana Tucke-Tucke and I met Carsten (the proprietor), I was told names. I’m bad at remembering names… especially if tired. This’ll be embarrassing.

The first flight was delayed, but thus I didn’t have to wait the full three hours in Johannesburg, so this worked out for me. I’ve got terrible muscle ache, and I hope it gets better soon. I really should’ve moved more on the plane. I slept like a brick and – of course – forgot to adjust the alarm clock to the local time and got up late.

I’ll be staying at Bwana for about 4 days, and then the CCF will come and pick me up here. The people here are all very friendly and I understand most of their English. I suppose that’s a good sign. Too bad I don’t speak any of the other common languages here – well, maybe except from German. 😉

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