Archive for Cheetah

A disappeared laptop

When we went by the office on our way to the goat kraal, we noticed that Markus’ laptop including his power cord, but not the mouse I lent to him, had disappeared. We usually left our stuff in the office overnight since during the day we’re going to use them anyway. But today, his laptop was missing and it has yet to resurface. He had placed a large CCF sticker on the back of the lid, so this lead us to the assumption that someone might have mistaken it for an official CCF laptop, but since asking around for anyone that might have taken it yielded no results, we don’t really think it’s the case.

Of course, camera trapping this day wasn’t as relaxing as it usually is. Again, we needed to help with the cub’s pen today, and continued bringing sand into the enclosure. Only one more afternoon spent on it and we’re done 🙂

However, we’re still a bit worried about the sudden vanishing of his laptop. It’s definitely sad, but also a bad thing not only because of its worth, but mostly because it contains valuable and important data such as many blog posts he didn’t even get to upload. I now take my laptop with me every night and feel uncomfortable leaving it here while I’m gone. I hope the thief gets caught eventually.

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A slightly different start into the day…

Usually, my day begins with either a scat walk, sometimes with tracking and usually with cleaning the goat kraal. Today, everything was a bit different. Since there are some experiments involving scat planned, we had to get rid of as much poop in the Elands pen as we were able to. This was not particularly fun, but it’s always somewhat exciting to be able to work with the cats so close by to you, and even if they don’t actually do anything than look at you or pace around, it’s still nice to know you’re not alone.

This was followed by feeding the cats, but we were not able to go by the usual routine since today there was a safari in the Bellebenno pen, forcing us to feed the other cats closer to the CCF’s headquarters first. This isn’t a problem at all, since all the cheetahs react to is the car arriving since it usually means there’s going to be food, regardless of when it’s coming. Again, we were able to take some nice pictures of the cats, but we still need a few more if we want to do the ID photos of all sponsored cats properly.

Markus and I then spent the afternoon modifying the cub’s pen – any rain would only drain very slowly from their pen, leaving puddles and not too many dry spots for them to lie on, so we had the task of creating a small river bed and filling the sides with sand so the water will (hopefully) make its way into the river bed, leaving the other areas dry (or at least not completely drenched). Of course carrying around all the stones and sand wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it, and quite fun because the little ones were watching us while we were busy working. We brought a lot of scents into the pen via the sand, and the cubs were very curious, sniffing and digging at the sand when they were let back into their pen.

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African-Japanese Sushi party!

EarthWatch left yesterday. The party we had today was of course not to celebrate this – Nick simply came up with the idea of cooking Japanese food today. All we had to agree on was helping to pay for the ingredients. Never having tried Sushi myself, I agreed, since I swore to myself never to eat it where I don’t know whether it’s fresh. I think that means I trust Nick a lot 😉

It was quite tasty, actually, especially considering it was only raw fish. It also was totally different from what I had expected, but still good. I may just try it again some other time, I’m not really sure if I really like it enough to enjoy it more often, though.

Friday was a pretty uneventful day – all I did was cut some more video footage, and I finally settled for background music (I think). After lunch we cleaned one more area of the center pen, but this was done fairly quickly, much to our relief. Scoffling isn’t everyone’s favourite activity. In the evening we did a game count, but it turned out to be pretty useless. Since it started raining on a more regular basis now, the game seems to have wandered off. All we got to see were a few oryx, hares and owls. One of the latter even had a mouse with it. Yet, it was absolutely uneventful… but fun, since we kept looking for tree rhinos and snow leopards (warning, insider joke). 😀

Saturday was not particularly interesting either, nor was today. We got to feed the center pen cheetahs, however, which was a nice change of pace during that otherwise lazy day. Not that I don’t appreciate lazy days here – after all, the hard work takes its toll on me. At least it’s very rewarding.

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Goat blood, rain and interviews

Cleaning the goat kraal this morning proved to be a little more deviating from the usual procedure than you’d expect. We weren’t many people in there and two with back problems that couldn’t help us with the wheelbarrow or shoveling, so that part had to be done by Markus and me. Exhausting, I tell you. Then it started raining… just a bit, and not for too long, but the weather reflected a bit how we felt.

Then we got to pierce goat ears – some of them needed (new) tags in their ears, so we clipped a small slit in there and stuck the tag though. Only that the goats – admittedly, not surprisingly – didn’t like. It might have been the pain (that seemed to subside quite quickly and/or the panic our holding the animals caused, but in any case they put up quite a fight. When we did the last goat, she refused quite heavily, and tried to come free – in vain. But due to her struggling, the first pierce didn’t go through and a second hole had to be made, which ended up hurting a vein in the ear. This led to her ear dripping blood like mad, and her struggling made it spray all over my pants and shirt. I looked as if I had slaughtered a goat when Ia returned to the office.

I then discovered discrepancies with the camera trap picture data we entered while sorting pictures for cheetahs, leopards, brown hyenas and jackals. It seems as if the people at the photo lab burned one DVD twice, which led to us examining the same pictures twice. Quite a pity, especially considering how much time you spend on identifying animals, time and date on the pictures… Also, one of the main computers turned out to be infected by a virus that infected all USB and other storage media you attached to it. Should be clean now since we installed an anti-virus product on it.

Following that we eventually got around to doing our interviews – Beatrix and Julie were kind enough to provide us with their opinions and insights concerning CCF. This is getting interesting! I hope I’ll be able to make these series look good…

Little C on his hut

Little C climbed the newly-renovated hut in his pen again. Quite cute, I haven’t seen him on top of it like that before. 🙂

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Taco Treats, Angry Acacias And Cheetah Care

My Friday was a clone of Thursday, only that the latter was Taco Day – we got yummy tacos for lunch. I loved them last year and they were not less tasty this year. We even had guacamole (that didn’t actually taste like guacamole, but was tasty on the tacos nevertheless)!

Thursday and Friday were, as mentioned, clones of each other. The first half of these days I was at the office, entering picture data from camera traps, then the other half I’d spend outside the CCF’s offices, measuring Acacia mellifera, Acacia fleckii and other angry trees and bushes that try to shred you to pieces if you ever get to close to them. Learning from my Thursday experience, I brought a long-sleeved British Army shirt in order to avoid cuts on Friday, only to find out the area we were measuring plants in was much less crowded with angry plants than the day before. Still, better to not take any chances with the vegetation out here.

Most, if not all, EarthWatch volunteers went on a trip to Etosha today. This means that everything is less crowded, and since it’s Saturday there’s also less to do, so it doesn’t really matter. While I was the only volunteer to stay behind last year, this time it’s a lot more people not leaving the CCF’s premises, which makes life a little easier.

Today started with some excitement since one of the cats in the girl’s pen had gone missing. Not surprisingly it was Leia, who happens to be sick. She did, however, turn up later, and our keepers were very reliefed to know she’s still alive.

We then went feeding, and after finishing a quick roundtrip to most of CCF’s cats, speedily (cheetah-style!) feeding them and replacing their water, we went to Bellebenno where a Safari was supposed to take place, but… didn’t. Thus, we simply fed the cats, or rather Rob did since Markus and I were busy shooting photos and/or videos of running spottykitties.

Since the afternoon’s quite calm on Saturdays, all I’m doing now is sighting those pictures and videos. After all, I’ve only got three more weeks left here. Half time already…

…and please forgive my use of alliterations in the title – it was just too tempting to resist.

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