Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Cubs First Run and Farewell to CCF

Greetings All,
Our month at CCF is nearly over.  We have had an amazing time and even more new experiences in our final week.  We got to watch the cubs, Rainbow and Aurora on their first "cheetah run".  They picked it up quickly and were racing around the field after the rag lure just like their adult counterparts.

Cubs First Run

This past week we were busy doing game counts.  We did an afternoon circuit count, a night count and the highlight, a 12-hour waterhole count.  That's right, we had to sit at a waterhole for 12 hours and count all the animals that came to drink.  We were set up in a brick hide with an open window slit in front through which we could watch and photograph animals.

Marc in the hide

View of Waterhole from the Hide

We started at 6:00 and it took about an hour for the animals to show up.  The first visitors were elands, the largest of Africa's antelope species and a steady stream of animals visited the waterhole throughout the day.


At one point there were nearly 30 zebra at the waterhole.  Not only did we have to count the number of animals, we had to determine how many males and how many females there were as well as indicate the number of adults vs. subadults vs. calves.


During the few lulls in animal visitors we were able to enjoy the beautiful birds frequenting the waterhole.  Our favorites were violet-eared waxbills, black-faced waxbills and acacia pied barbet.

Black-faced Waxbill 

Violet-eared Waxbill

A curious slender mongoose came to visit no doubt attracted by our lunch.

Slender Mongoose

Before we knew it our 12 hours were up and it was time to return to CCF.

What's more fun than a wheelbarrow full of goats?  Why cleaning the goat pens of course.  They didn't make it easy jumping into the wheelbarrow and knocking over our rakes and shovels but you had to laugh at their inquisitive nature.

Peggy Cleaning the Kraal

Being a model farm, CCF raises goats and sheep and host workshops to teach local farmers better animal husbandry.  Along with the flocks are the livestock guarding dogs that we have continued to walk throughout our stay.  I'll miss our walks up Leopard Hill and along the Savannah Trail.

We got to watch the Ambassadors run one final time yesterday.  I continue to marvel at the cheetah, the fastest land animal.

Cheetah Run

We thank CCF for the privilege of spending a month with these amazing cats and the opportunity to learn more about them.

Cheetah Cub

I will miss their purrs, hisses, spits and chirps.  I hope they will win the race for survival and that humans can learn to coexist with these magnificent predators.  I can't imagine a world without cheetahs!

We hope all is well back home.
Marc and Peggy

1 comment:

Bonnie Olson said...

My sister sent me this blog to see. What a great adventure of yours. Having just got back from Africa and thinking of volunteering one day she knew I would be interested in what you have been doing.
So glad you share it for others to become inspired. I just spent three weeks, much of it at private reserves near Kruger. Seeing the animals is such an honor. How wonderful for you to live your passion!!