Thursday, December 4, 2014

Aruna's Real Africa: Happy World Cheetah Day!!

The 4th of December is World Cheetah day. In 2011 I was lucky enough to do volunteer work at a project that specialised in Cheetahs. The current focus is on breeding but there are plans to breed cubs that will be raised by the mother and not have any human contact and so will be able to be released in the wild.
There are less than 1000 cheetahs left in South Africa and populations in other countries are dwindling as well (for more information check out the website of the CCF) so maintaining a diverse population, even if it is in captivity, is very important.  As cheetahs have a very limited gene pool (it is believed that all cheetahs today have one common ancestor, meaning they are all related) breeding is very difficult. Many animals are infertile and then of course there is the question of attraction. In the wild cheetah cubs stay with their mother for a relatively long time, meaning that the females will only have 2-3 litters in their lifetime, further contributing to declining numbers.

At the project they had an ambassador cheetah called Caine, he really enjoyed being around people and would purr loudly when stroked (cheetahs are the only big cats that purr by the way)

Cain enjoying a cuddle

To keep the cheetahs fit and active they had a run twice a week.However, not all the cheetahs were active participants, I think there was only one time that I managed to get a decent photo, as quite often they would give up half way or decide it wasn't worth the effort ;-)

Fergie at the cheetah run (see how he uses his train as a rudder)

One of the aspects of the work that most volunteers weren't too fond of was meat preparation but as cheetahs are not vegetarians it had to be done.

Jemima enjoying Sunday lunch
While volunteering at the project I also took my first trip to the Kruger park, I knew that this would not be my last visit as at the time I was in the process of moving to South Africa.

I will be visiting the Kruger park again this weekend and will be tweeting about it, follow me @arunarealafrica

No comments:

Post a Comment