Archive for Little C

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. 🙂


Finally – cheetahs!

Today started just like any other day so far – I got to clean the goat pens. This time the largest one was to be cleaned as well as one other. Because we only have two shovels (of which one is about the size of a toy shovel) and two wheelbarrows (with one being… difficult to handle), this took us quite some time. Believe me, goats poop a lot.

We were about half an hour late when Matt came to fetch us for feeding. The “girls” – 17 female cheetahs in Bellebenno – needed to be fed, after all. Too bad I didn’t bring my camera with me because there were some really nice photo opportunities I thus missed. We actually fed only 16 cats, Minja (not to be confused with Nina, who was number 16) didn’t show up, probably because she was hiding from a “gang” of five females. Hopefully she’ll be hungry enough tomorrow to risk a trip to the gate where she’ll get food. Matt told me that if this were to go on, they’d have to lock the cheetahs that appeared into a smaller pen and then try to get her out to eat or, failing that, that volunteers needed to search the pen for her. As you see, the cheetahs here are all well-cared for. 😀

After lunch we got another task that was closely cheetah-related: we had to pick up cheetah poop and bones left over from previous meals. We got a tray full of poop-and-bones in the end, but working so close to the cheetahs that actually came to look at what we were doing was a great experience. We also fed the females in the pen close to the education center, but they didn’t really appreciate the meat today. Maybe they’re tired of donkey by now. 😉

Upon finishing these tasks and losing my cap on the road back (I got it back, though), we could see Little C standing on the hut in his pen. Another great photo opportunity. My thirst for new pictures is quenched. Well, maybe a little… for now.

The schedule for tomorrow is still to be announced, so I’ll just go to sleep now.


T+5091 hours: Term paper graded!

The bad news first: It took me almost a month to write this post. The good news: my paper has been graded and I have a grade of 13 (out of 15), which translates into an A- (or 1- in the German system)! 😀

I’m actually quite happy with it, considering most of my ‘mistakes’ were not directly related to the topic itself but because of formatting and some left out things (some quotations or explanations). I had 13 points in the written part and 14 points in the oral examination that follows the correction. It’s used to make sure one really wrote the report all by oneself. If you’d like to see it, you can download the PDF here (248 KB). I will update it as I remove or rework whatever was criticised.

So… yes, quite happy right now. 🙂

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T+256 hours: Scratching and purring

Little C had a little exercise today. First thing today was a cheetah run with only one cheetah, but he did seem to be quite happy about us joining him in his enclosure.

He doesn’t get quite as much exercise as the other cats, but he sure is more trusting than them. The girls wouldn’t get closer to the humans than they have too, but Little C lay down in front of us once he had enough of running. He was panting heavily and obviously quite exhausted, but while doing so he tried to purr. The resulting sound was kind of cute. I’ve been told he’s rather lazy, but will get more exercise in the future, and he really liked the attention he got – he allowed us to scratch and pet him (this cheetah loves getting earscritches).

After the run Shane, Trina and my humble self walked around the enclosures in hope of finding cheetah scat. The male cheetahs around here are very interested in the females, but since there’s a fence around their pens, they have to mark their territories outside. The wild cheetah’s scat is used to find out what prey they eat by analyzing the hair inside it and also to determine the stress levels of cheetahs by measuring cortisol levels. Since many resident cheetahs have gastritis or other digestive problems that may be related to stress (vehicles and humans close by), the folks here at CCF are trying to find out what to do against it. We found one big pile of poop and got it into our collection bags.

Our little trio then went to a nice little nature trail and spread Bushblok mulch on it. All we had to do was disperse it from the piles that were waiting for us. However, that’s not quite as easy a job as it may seem to be. It is pretty exhausting, but we got about 200 metres worth of path done in less than two hours. I guess that was pretty fast.

The others are leaving for Etosha after lunch. This means I will be the only volunteer here for the rest of the day and tomorrow. I hope there’s not too much to do since I haven’t gotten around to doing my studies yet.

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