Archive for Video project

Finished the cub’s pen extension

So today we finally did it – after working some more on the pen in the afternoons on Tuesday as well as today, after lots of digging, placing stones, raking and shoveling sand, weaving acacia branches into the wire fence and removing the one that separated the two enclosures. The cubs were subsequently let out… but didn’t show any interest in the extended area. I so expected this to happen. However, this doesn’t mean that all of our work was for nothing – later that evening Bruce approached us and told us they had finally gone exploring the extension, and that they were happy. So we were happy, too. 😀


Tuesday started with another Cheetah Run I attended. The others sure hate me for this, but after all, I’m doing it for a good cause. The videos I shoot (I hardly make any pictures) I all need for that little video project. We finished the first part on Sunday (for which I got called a workaholic), and while we’re still waiting for a first “public” screening among staff and volunteers, I’m sure they’ll like it. Even I am fairly happy with it, despite being a perfectionist 😉

We then helped at the goat kraal, and after that interviewed Rhianna, an aspiring vet student. It was the longest and – so far – funniest interview we did so far, with lots and lots of outtakes. We did, however, get nice material, too, so it wasn’t just for fun, mind you!

Today started similarly – another Cheetah Run, but this time without people. They simply were too late, not arriving until about 8:50. By that time the cheetahs are not run anymore because the growing heat forces them to rest longer, resulting in a significantly shorter run or, even worse, no run at all. Instead of disassembling our equipment and bringing everything back to the clinic Matt and Kate gave them a little run, but it wasn’t nearly as nice as it usually is, partly because it was very short and because Little C looked at us and walked away instead of chasing the lure. What a lazy cheetah… 😉

We then went to feed our cats, which resulted in even more video material. I’m running low on storage here, my four 16 GB SD cards are full to the brim. I’m glad I brought my laptop so I am able to copy things to it. Too bad I’m running out of space there, too… but then again, I’ve got only one week to go, which makes me sad.

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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. 🙂


Nevermind – I’ve got a sunburn now

I probably shouldn’t have asked for it, but today’s fence maintenance has taken its toll on my neck – I’ve got a sunburn now. It’s only a very slight one, but it definitely shows you shouldn’t underestimate the sun here. Luckily, my face was painted white with sunscreen, so the few spots I didn’t reach are the only ones that are a bit sore right now. Sucks being European – and always use your sunscreen! 🙂

The morning started with Cheetah Tracking, but alas, we didn’t get to see or even radio-track any. They were simply too far away and the single hour of time they assign to this task isn’t barely enough to cover an extended search.

As for fence maintenance, we did some today, but nothing quite went as planned. The trip was supposed to take all day long and we weren’t plannin to be back before dinner, but something went wrong – first, we had no car to go in and take our stuff, so we only brought the tools, but not the fence posts for replacing. So John told some of the workers to come with the fence posts, but as we were working, they didn’t appear. So after about two hours of removing broken posts we decided to take a break. We had prepared hard-boiled eggs, some sandwiches as well as tomatos and tuna with corn. All in all a worthy replacement for the fish they got here at the Hot Spot.

When after more than two more hours nobody had appeared to help us, we decided to go back – it was really hot, we couldn’t really do anything than cutting the old posts out and not even replace them, so John decided to drive back. On the way back to the CCF’s headquarters we met the workers that were supposed to show up five hours prior… but they had the wrong kind of posts with them.

All in all a chaotic day, but that’s that left me some time to think more about the video project. I’ll have to start on the interviews fairly soon, but the schedule really doesn’t leave me too much time for things like that. Even worse, most of the people I want to interview are often enough busy somewhere else. I’ll talk to Nick about this, maybe he can give me some opportunities if I tell him who I’d like to interview.



Supporting the CCF

CCF relies on people’s support. You can help by either by sponsoring a cheetah, donating online, by visiting CCF’s Education Centre here in Namibia or by simply spreading the word.

Yesterday, a pair of British citizens, the Robinsons, dropped by the CCF grounds and James Robinson asked us for help. He’s currently researching the cheetah’s evolution and in particular how doglike they’ve become. Now, I’m not entirely familiar with canine anatomy, but apparently they swallow in a different way than cats do. In order to help him with his research, we shot several hundred pictures and recorded a lot of video footage of our boys eating. He also got to meet the cubs and even touch one’s throat as it was swallowing, allowing him to determine their way of swallowing apparently has nothing to do with dogs. He was obviously thankful for our help and the DVD we burnt for him containing the footage we obtained as they donated quite a nice sum to the CCF. Thank you, James and Diana!

Apart from the usual Goat Kraal experience, nothing of interest happened yesterday. I chose to nap a bit in the afternoon, and then was sufficiently prepared for the movie night we had coming up. We watched Get Shorty as well as Transformers. I don’t know how often I had to mention it, but apparently people still don’t know what a Michael Bay movie’s made of – explosions, or rather Baysplosions…

I’ve not been lazy today despite our schedule leaving most of the day free. I got up in order to go to work on the Goat Kraal where the goats had to be fed. On the way there I was however greeted by Sonja who had already done that job. Since my daily task had thus been fullfilled, I chose to proceed to the office and do some more video editing. Once I get the interviews started (which will hopefully be tomorrow), I’ll probably be able to finish one to three episodes, depending on how yielding the interviews will be. This is part of how I try to help the CCF achieve its goal to save the cheetah from extinction.

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