Monthly Archives: January 2013

Cheetahs, Giraffes, and Oryx, Oh My!

This morning we took a drive to check on all the cheetahs at CCF, the farthest distance being Bellebenno Camp 45 minutes away. There are a total of 46 cheetahs at CCF right now, some will live the rest of their days here, and some will be released into the wild. We not only saw cheetahs, but loads more wildlife along the way!

These 4 boys are a distance from the CCF center to keep them more wild as there is potential to release them, if a proper site is found.

These 4 boys are a distance from the CCF center to keep them more wild as there is potential to release them, if a proper site is found.

Oryx is one of the largest animals cheetah prey one. A female alone likely could not take one down, but a group of males certainly could.

Oryx is one of the largest animals cheetah prey on. A female alone likely could not take one down, but a group of males certainly could.

Male giraffes attempting to mate with each other!?

Male giraffes attempting to mate with each other!?

Baby tortoise crossing the road.

Baby tortoise crossing the road.

This female cheetah is in a large enclosure and was posing for us when we arrived. Isn't she beautiful!

This female cheetah is in a large enclosure and was posing for us when we arrived. Isn’t she beautiful!

This is one of 10 females in a very large enclosure. 8 of the 10 may be eligible for release. They are wild enough to not be happy to see us when we arrive. The challenge here is to find a safe place to release eligible cheetahs into the wild.

This is one of 10 females in a very large enclosure. 8 of the 10 may be eligible for release. They are wild enough to not be happy to see us when we arrive. The challenge here is to find a safe place to release eligible cheetahs into the wild.

Jackal. We saw a family of about 10. They look somewhat like a cross between fox and coyote, but with huge ears. This is the animal we hear screaming in the night.

Jackal. We saw a family of about 10. They look somewhat like a cross between fox and coyote, but with huge ears. This is the animal we hear screaming in the night.

Warthog baby and mom. Each morning we have breakfast with them and other warthog families.

Warthog baby and mom. Each morning we have breakfast with them and other warthog families.

Day 1, after the cheetah run. The cheetahs chase a rag on the ground that gets them up to half of full speed. This keeps the captive cheetahs near the center well exercised.

Day 1, after the cheetah run. The cheetahs chase a rag on the ground that gets them up to half of full speed. This keeps the captive cheetahs near the center well exercised.

Home Sweet Home

Our home at CCF

Our home at CCF

Today we left the center with CCF’s heroic director, Dr. Laurie Marker, and drove about 2 hours southwest to a small town called Omaruru, the up and coming crystal capitol of Namibia. We dropped off the wine grapes from yesterday’s harvest at a small winery there and met the lovely people who run it. What a treat to have the day with Laurie to brainstorm about projects at CCF, see the beautiful dry Namibian countryside, and pass several large families of baboons.

Why Condor and Cheetah?

Andean condor

No fence between us and the cheetah. No zoom lens - that's how close we were!

No fence between us and this cheetah. No zoom lens – that’s how close we were!

These are the two iconic animals of the places we are visiting on our great adventures. Condors grace the skies of the Andean mountains of South America. Cheetahs sprint across the Namibian savannah. Both are incredibly beautiful and powerful, and both are endangered species. We are blessed to have this time with them.

 

Beginning this blog at the end of our time in South America and the start of our time in Africa, we intend to write more about our experiences in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile as time goes on. But for now, we begin with the present – Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Otjiwarongo, Namibia.