Goodbye to Chewbaaka

By

04.04.2011

Laurie and Chewbaaka - (c) Frans Lanting
Photo courtesy of Frans Lanting. (c) Frans Lanting.

My dear friends,

With the deepest sorrow, we said goodbye to Chewbaaka today. In late February, a rabid kudu jumped into Chewbaaka’s enclosure. Despite being almost 16 years old, Chewbaaka attempted to kill the kudu, suffering bruises that covered his entire abdomen and hind legs. He did not appear to have internal injuries, but I think that given his age and the age-related kidney disease that was diagnosed last year, the insult to his body was too much for him to overcome. Despite our best efforts, he did not recover.

Chewbaaka has been my best friend since he was brought to me in 1995, only 10 days old and seriously ill. Even as young and ill as he was, he was such a fighter that he pulled through, and he and I developed a deep bond that lasted his entire lifetime. We trusted each other completely. We were partners.

I’ve said before that Khayam, the first cheetah I raised, showed me the problem facing cheetahs, and Chewbaaka showed me the solutions. As a team, he and I demonstrated to tens of thousands of Namibian children and adults that we could live together peacefully. He made Namibians proud of their natural heritage. He convinced men who had killed cheetahs all their lives to put down their guns and work to protect this fascinating animal. He was featured in television documentaries and articles in National Geographic, Smithsonian, Africa Geographic, and Readers’ Digest. People all over the globe knew him or knew of him.

Even for a cheetah, Chewbaaka had a special bearing, a regalness that people often commented on. It was as if he knew he was the king of CCF. In my heart he will always be king of CCF.
We have been working to develop a planned giving program in Chewbaaka’s honour, called the Chewbaaka Society, and I will provide more information about that in the next few months. But for now I wanted you to know the sad news of the passing of this legendary animal, my great friend Chewbaaka.

Thank you to everyone for your concern and support during this sorrowful time.

Chewbaaka - Memories

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15 Responses to “Goodbye to Chewbaaka”

  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s not much to be said. My thoughts are with Dr. Marker and everyone at CCF and everyone who loved Chewbaaka. I knew it would happen eventually but I’m devastated. He will live on in all of our hearts.

  2. My heart is breaking for Chewbaaka and for all of you there at CCF. Continue the work in his name….his legacy and yours lies in doing all that you can to save these beautiful creatures from extinction. The thoughts and prayers of many are with you today.

  3. Phaewryn says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear that he has passed, but what an awesome and amazing life he had with you guys! Keep that memory in your thoughts, and you’ll honor him well.

  4. ” …I still can’t believe you’re gone (can’t believe you’re gone)
    Give anything to hear half your breath (half your breath)
    I know you still living you’re life, after death…”

    from the song “i’ll be missing you” by Puff Daddy

    I’ll be missing you mighty cat ..

    Dimitris Karagiannakis
    Athens,Greece

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am deeply saddened by the news of the death Chewbaaka.
    I Chewbaaka ever allowed to visit the CCF in Namibia.
    He was a great man, who was an excellent ambassador for his species.
    Unfortunately I could not attend this year due to illness and unemployment in Namibia at this great cat again.
    He will leave a big empty lot.
    I hope that he will find a nice place to his peace and his final resting place.
    I would hope that there will be a place where the CCF is who I am again to CCF, can remember him.
    His greatest wish will be that all so go on his way to protect as before, the cheetah can all live in peace and freedom without fear of being killed by poachers.
    I would like to thank all those who were the last hours at Chewbaaka him and have maintained to the end.
    My personal condolences to Dr. Laurie Marker and your family for the great loss.
    In deep sorrow
    Bodenstein Jens from Germany

  6. Jacinda Hughes says:

    So sorry to hear your news.xxxx

  7. Anonymous says:

    We have a heavy heart! In 2006, watching french TV documentary about your fighting for cheetah survival, I decided to adopt your great cause. Why? because your spirit, your ideas, your conception, your commitment to cheetah survival and for YOUR BEST FRIEND, CHEW. He was so majestic, so friendly with you. You were joined at the hip, you were very close. It was such a marvellous ambassador!
    One year ago, to the day, April 3th, we flew to Namibia to discover this marvellous country and CCF. We stayed at CCF and it was unforgetable! …even with volcano eruption…remember it!
    We’ll never forget Chewbaaka, we’ll come back at ccf to support your struggle for cheetahs survival…so many of them need you and ccf team too.
    Now Chewbaaka joined his race friends. He was the stuff heroes are made of, like you are Laurie and in the cheetahs’ heaven, he must be proud of you!
    Brigitte

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ich bin über die Nachricht vom Tod Chewbaaka tief betroffen.
    Ich habe Chewbaaka schon einmal in Namibia beim CCF besuchen dürfen.
    Er war eine große Persönlichkeit, der für seine Art ein hervorragender Botschafter war.
    Leider konnte ich dieses Jahr auf Grund von Krankheit und Arbeitslosigkeit nicht nach Namibia um diesen Großartigen Kater noch einmal zu besuchen.
    Er wird für Viele eine große Leere hinterlassen.
    Ich hoffe dass er an einen schönen Ort seinen Frieden und seine letzte Ruhe finden wird.
    Ich würde mir wünschen das es beim CCF einen Ort geben wird an dem man, wen ich mal wieder zum CCF komme, seiner gedenken kann.
    Sein größter Wunsch wird sein, das alle so weiter machen seine Art zu schützen wie bisher, das alle Geparde in Frieden und Freiheit leben können ohne Angst zu haben von Wilderen getötet zu werden.
    Ich möchte allen Danken, die die letzten Stunden bei Chewbaaka waren und Ihn bis zuletzt gepflegt haben.
    Mein persönliches Mitgefühl gilt Frau Dr. Laurie Marker und Ihrer Familie für den großen Verlust.
    In tiefer Trauer
    Jens Bodenstein aus Deutschland

  9. Tomekzlasu says:

    Dear Madam,
    We mention with fondness Chewback’a, which saw many years ago in Otijvarongo.best wishes,
    Alicja i Tomek from Poland
    ( http://afryka.blox.pl/html )

  10. seaparade819 says:

    You gave him a wonderful life and the joy of having you as his friend. His grace, beauty and spirit will be within you forever and this loss will become more acceptable and less real as time passes.
    Being able to meet him was a once in a life time experience that will always be within me.
    A big hug Laurie
    Nancy V

  11. Anonymous says:

    Chewbaaka’s paw prints will always remain on my soul.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_-H-TLyUOc

  12. Anonymous says:

    I read the news blog almost every day since chewbaaka´s accident with the kudu, and I was hoping so much that he´d do it and come over it, that he´s strong enough to survive – even in his age. Today the sad news, and I cried even if I didn´t know him personaly. I love cheetahs, I love the elegance, their eyes and movement, for me probably one of the proudest animal of the world, and Chewbaaka stands for all of them, even after his death. He will always be “the one” and we will always miss him,…goodbye chewbaaka…
    Kristina (Sivas guardian angels)

  13. Very sorry for your loss, I hope he did not suffer in his last days with you.

  14. Cheetah News says:

    Thank you Glenn. He went peacefully, and received so much love and care from all of us at CCF and visitors.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sad… Words scrambled in my mind. Good-bye Chewbaaka:(.

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