All my colleagues at CCF Namibia are preparing for CCF’s biggest annual event in Windhoek tomorrow: our fundraising gala, a Celebration of Speed and Elegance, which takes place every year in July and this year will honour the greatest cheetah, Chewbaaka.
July is a special month for us at CCF. For 15 years, we celebrated Chewbaaka’s birthday, and for the rest of our lives, we will celebrate his life and legacy. I can’t think of the many achievements made by CCF without appreciating the important role Chewbaaka played –and continues to play– in cheetah conservation.
As it turns out, July is also a big month when it comes to celebrating freedom. 22 countries celebrate their independence in July, including the US and six African countries: Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Malawi, Egypt, Ethiopia and Liberia.
Thinking of Chewbaaka and freedom reminded me of one of CCF’s great achievements: the successful re-wilding of several cheetahs in the last few years.
Did you know that the five Chocolates now roaming free in NamibRand and the Erindi Game Reserve (Toblerone, Nestle, Hershey, Cadbury and Lindt) were all born in July 2002? The five siblings came to CCF after having been caught in a farm near Otavi. Strangely, their mother was never found. We believe she was shot since cheetah mothers don’t typically abandon their cubs. The males Cadbury and Lindt were released in Namibrand in July 2008 along with coalition members Mushara, Ra and Kia. The females Hershey, Nestle and Toblerone went to Erindi with a fourth female, Chanel, last January.
Seven years later, also in July, four tiny and scared orphan cubs (photo – right) that we affectionately named the “Scars” –Phil, Mischief, Tony and Polly, were born and came to CCF. We loaned all three males to the Naua Naua Lodge, where they have been enjoying life and educating visitors at this game reserve since last March.
So, here is to a very successful CCF gala in Namibia tomorrow, and to Chewbaaka and free cheetahs!
Happy July everyone. And please remember, the Chewbaaka Memorial Challenge is on, and it will only last through 31 August. Please donate now and make your donation count twice!