It’s Adopt-A-Cat month! While Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) strongly advises against adopting actual cheetahs (they really don’t make good pets) we do take the opportunity during the month of June to let people know that our resident cheetahs are available for sponsorship.
Our mission at CCF is to keep cheetahs in the wild. However, over the past 27 years we have cared for cheetah cubs that were orphaned very early in their development. The younger they are the more intervention they require. Through necessity, our Founder and Executive Director Dr. Laurie Marker, and our team of researchers take on the role of cheetah mothers providing food and round-the-clock care to cubs that are sometimes injured and very ill. Because of the close interaction, these cubs grow into adults that are habituated to humans and they lack the necessary skills to survive on their own in the wild.
During 2017, we lost our oldest resident cheetah Sandy. She had been living at CCF since 2000. When she came in with her two brothers, their mother had been shot and killed on a game farm, they were only eight weeks old. Her brothers were sent to live at White Oak Conservation Center – they were part of a gift of 10 cheetahs from the president of Namibia, Sam Nujoma, to various zoos across the United States. Sandy remained at CCF for her entire life forming strong bonds with fellow resident cheetahs Dusty and Blondi before losing both of these cheetah friends in recent years. It is sad and very hard on staff to lose a resident cheetah, but we are also happy and grateful to be able to provide them with such long and happy lives. During Adopt-A-Cat Month, you can help us care for our resident cheetahs by sponsoring some of our long term residents or one of the newest additions.
Also during 2017, we took in many orphaned cubs. Earlier this year, some of the cubs were released back into the wild and others have joined our resident cheetahs. Bella, Katiti, Niko, and Koya are all aged two and under and are now available for sponsorship. Dominic is our newest arrival and is now only two months old. He came to us when he was only 10 days old and requires round the clock feedings and support. Like Sandy, Dominic will most likely become a long-term resident of CCF. He is not yet old enough to be listed for sponsorship but he and his fellow resident cheetahs are all benefiting from your support, just as Sandy did over the course of her 17 years with us.
We also recently added cheetahs to our listing that are living in Somaliland and were rescued from the illegal pet trade. Veepi and Indie were surrendered or seized from individuals who were keeping them as pets and could no longer care for them. Previously, CCF’s involvement in fighting the illegal trade in cheetahs has been primarily conducted at a policy level working with government and non-government entities across the trafficking “hot zone” of the Horn of Africa and throughout the Middle East. In 2017 though, we became involved in an intervention with nine cheetah cubs. Dr. Marker provided emergency assistance as the cubs were incredibly thin and very ill. However, despite her best efforts along with support staff on location in Somaliland, only one cub survived. After many hours of negotiations, the remaining cub was taken to a sanctuary in Djbouti, but sadly he didn’t survive.
Your support during Adopt-A-Cat Month will help us continue our mission to keep the cheetah in the wild while also supporting and caring for the cheetahs who can’t be returned to it. Though there are people creating a negative impact on wild populations, there are also people like YOU who are helping CCF. Please sponsor a resident cheetah today.