Monday, July 11, 2011

Meeting the public

So for the past couple of weeks I have had a big role in working with the 4 cheetah cubs we are raising to be ambassadors for CCF. Chewbakka, our last ambassador, unfortunately died earlier this year after a 16 year career at CCF and due to that loss it was time for us to begin raising more cheetahs to follow in his pawprints. Last August we received four three week old cheetah cubs from the government of Namibia who had confiscated them from a farmer in the Okakarara area of Namibia who shot their mother and captured the cubs. This is why they are currently called the Okakarara Cubs. Because they came to us at such a young age, there was no hope for them to be released into the wild and we decided to hand raise them and train them to become our new ambassador cheetahs.

Now these four cubs (Kaijay, Peter, Tiger Lily, and Senay) are 11 months old and they are growing very fast. As ambassadors, for the rest of their lives they will be meeting people and the public around Namibia and here at CCF's main center so it is very important for them to be very use and habituated to humans. We spend time with them everyday socializing, while at the same time respecting them for the wild animals they are and will always be. Although they are ambassadors in training and are very comfortable with humans, we always remember the fact that they will always have their instincts and will never be CCF's "pets." We consider them to be more of employees of CCF and ambassadors of the cheetah species.

One of the things we do daily is take them on walks to meet the guest we have here at CCF on a daily basis. It's not quite the same as walking a dog, yet it has similar qualities. Obviously, much more patience and awareness is needed because they are wild, but again because they have been with people their entire lives and are habituated to humans, we can take them on these walks and use them in this way without at all making them uncomfortable. I've greatly enjoyed working with these guys and being one of their handlers. I have learned so much but I have also been able to utilize so many of the things I have learned at Unity. I don't have many pictures but here is one. Again like always I am always happy to answer any questions and welcome any comments. Until next time...

- Eli

Myself with Senay, Dr. Marker with Tiger Lily and Andreas who was a high school volunteer

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