Archive for September, 2009

I’ve gone crazy!

No worries there, crazy is merely a more extreme state of mind for me, nothing to be worried about. The cause is scanning… page after page, and on an old-fashioned flat-bed scanner. Constantly repeating all your movements may cause brain damage. Or at least make you wish you had lots of hard work to do. I scanned all morning long and got several zoos done, so I think I’m getting better at it. Still, a slot-in scanner would be nifty.

I missed a Cheetah Run this morning, just like yesterday. What a pity.

After lunch (yummy sausages) we got a slightly more intense task to do: the girl’s pen had to have any plants (mostly grass) removed from around the fences. The reason for this is that if a fire should start inside the enclosure the fence won’t be damaged. This, on the one hand, makes sure the cheetahs can’t escape once the fire’s extinguished, but also that the fences don’t have to be repaired of even replaced – an expensive endeavour for a donation-financed organisation such as the CCF.

This went on for hours, and I must say I’m quite exhausted today. When we were  finally done a good 150 metres of fence area had been cleared, so we did a pretty nice job. I’m even too tired to shower now, but since I’ll be cleaning the goat pens tomorrow I don’t think that’ll be a problem… ehem. I’ll most likely still clean my feet, but that’s it for today.

Hopefully I’ll get to see the girls run tomorrow – they did that quite often last year, but nowadays they’re more interested in hanging around the farthest corner of the pen since that’s where the Wild Boys are most likely to be seen, so the staff won’t bother with runs.

Sandy also appears to be in heat – she magically attracts the boys in the pen on the other side of the road and we could watch her roll and rub against the ground for quite some time yesterday during our mini-safari. Too bad cheetah breeding is forbidden in Namibia – I bet her cubs would look very cute! 😀

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Dust equals tan

My skin looks like I’ve been born here. Well, maybe not entirely so, but it’s certainly become a lot darker today… but this isn’t the sun’s fault, it’s dust.

The pen we cleared of virtually any vegetation besides trees yesterday got filled with sand today so that the cats that walk in there leave nice pawprints. We got the sand from the side of a road a little outside the CCF’s education center, and it certainly wasn’t easy work with all of the dust coming at you from all directions while shoveling. I was lucky to have another task that overlapped with this one, but as a result the poor others had to work even more. They did a marvelous job, though.

Markus and I “needed to” go on safari inside the girl’s (Elands) pen and join two professional photographers in order to get some video footage (I love my camera) and pictures of the girls. Especially the lovely Sandy helped us with that, posing for a long time. But the other kitties did a nice job as well, especially when they decided to roll over, yawn, or even groom each other. Absolutely fabulous. Even Amani behaved well today.

I hope I can start editing the footage tomorrow – all I need now are interviews of different people. I’ll try to snag some tomorrow… after I had a nice shower followed by long sleep to get rid of that dust…


Blisters, sun and cheetahs

Today I traded the Goat Kraal duty with Adeline, who seems to be allergic to the goats and/or sheep and/or dust here, so that she could do scanning instead and stay inside. Even though I didn’t finish until 9:40, I still wasn’t too late for the feeding, so everything was fine.

Our feeding run ended after we had supplied Leia (who has not really been eating enough the past few days due to her kidney problems) as well as Bella and Padme two of us stayed behind to get rid of grass and the hay-like dried grass on the ground for a paw-print study the CCF is conducting. Markus and I were both assigned to clean the car. Since we only had an underpowered vacuum cleaner as well as a pot full of water, washing liquid and an old CCF T-Shirt as a rag, this looked kind of improvised, but the car looks a lot better now. Well, it did when we washed it, but by tomorrow you probably won’t notice any difference anymore.

When people left for Bellebenno Damon and I were dropped off at the pen the others had been clearing earlier, and I got two nice blisters (one fully developed by now). Too bad I didn’t take any gloves with me, but then again I’m thinking they wouldn’t have changed too much. Anyway, I emptied a two-litre bottle and needed quite a few breaks, otherwise I might’ve fainted. The sun was really burning down and some of the roots were really stubborn. Plastic rakes are not worth any money at all, they bend and break too easily – just for the record.

I just helped Lily get rid of a supposedly virus-infected file (the Google Toolbar) from her computer, but I think it was just a false alarm due to an error in her virus definition files. But with so many computers, laptops and volunteers with flash drives around here you can never be too careful.

I’m now converting the first video files so I can finally start editing together what I already have.


Cheetahs are fast

Well, you probably knew that already, but seeing them run is another thing. The Cheetah Run here at CCF actually is a nice way of experiencing their speed – when the cheetahs chase after the lure at 45 km/h, with one knowing they could easily make double that speed, one can’t help but be amazed. The way they use their tails as rudders and how they jump and try to grab the rag is really breathtaking.

After the run I got to do the feeding for the Leopard pens (Leopard because the CCF’s only pen suitable for a leopard is in the vicinity) which includes Cruise (who lives separated from the others since he’s really old by now) Obi-Wan, Anakin and two other cheetahs. Today was head day, meaning the four cheetahs (not Cruise since he’s aged so much he can’t eat it anymore) got a juicy donkey head. Yummy.

Following that, we were told what the shovels in the back are there for. Answer: for us. To be used in road maintenance, another strenuous job that we managed to successfully complete. The deepest hole was about a metre deep and probably had been dug by and aardvark, an animal with an obvious fondness for holes, digging holes and… err, holes.

The next thing on my schedule was Bellebenno again. We fed the cats once more using juicy donkey meat, but this time not one was missing, but three of them. They’re probably show up soon, since hunger is a good way of making a cat less shy.

Of all the activities today I got some high-definiton video footage for use in our project. We still need to start interviewing, but at least we got some stock footage to fill them in. In any case I’ll be going to sleep now, and I already know I’ll be sleeping well after another day full of hard, but somehow rewarding work.


I got a picture of myself…

…but that’s not exactly what I wanted – camera traps are nasty things. At least it wasn’t completely my fault, we all saw the flash go off. After scanning in the morning instead of cleaning the goat kraal I was assigned to scanning. Sad stories are buried in those folders, but that’s nothing we’re supposed to read anyway. Just scanning, page after page after page…

After dinner this continued. Well, at least that’s what I was aiming to do, but many things kept me from fulfilling my task. For example, there was suddenly a cub workout on the schedule. They anaesthetised the  little one in order to be able to stitch a wound on his leg he got somewhere. Since they shaved parts of his leg I was able to grab a minuscule amount of cub fur 😀

Tomorrow’s going to start with a cheetah run – we still don’t know anything about the details of the video project we are supposed to do yet, but we figured that starting to get some footage of what you can experience at the CCF would be a nice thing to do. We’ll probably ask people if they’re fine giving opinions and interviews on CCF and try to have the video camera with us at all times so we can capture any striking impressions. Since I will also be on another feeding run tomorrow I might try to get some footage of that as well.


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