A slow start into the day

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My first duty today was to assist during a scat walk around our cheetah pens. We didn’t find anything today unlike on the last time I helped when we found two pieces of scat, one probably coming from a cheetah, the other one likely from a hyena. Unfortunately, though, our GPS device ran out of battery so we couldn’t write down where the scat was found. Of course, this time we didn’t even need it.

Poop coming from cheetahs is likely to have been placed there by two cheetahs simply called the “Wild Boys”. They are quite interested in the Elands pen, which is full of females (of which at least one is in heat at almost any given time). We do these scat walks because we know there are other carnivores around. We are, of course, especially interested in cheetahs, meaning we are especially happy whenever we find cheetah scat. The poop is then analyzed – we extract, for example, Cortisol that we think might be involved with the pathogenesis of gastritis, but also extract hair from the scat and try to determine the prey species of the cheetahs around here.

The scat collecting was followed by CD data entry, and not only the morning, but also in the evening. Since we are now done with this year’s camera trap data entry, we are now doing the 2007 pictures since the CCF only catalogued the cheetah pictures so far. This means we’re going to be identifying oryx, kudu, eland, porcupines etc. for a little longer. 😉