Eulogy for “Scientist” Fossey

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CCF News
03.12.2019

Fossey came to CCF in April 2007 with five other cubs of the same age from a farm in Gobabis, close to the Botswana border. Fossey was trapped along with his three brothers as a cub for hunting blesbok and springbok in a fenced game farm. They were kept in a garage with no daylight for about six months, which caused calcium deficiencies that stunted their growth. All of them got a lot better quickly with a proper diet and lots of space to run around but they have always stayed quite short compared to normal cheetahs. Upon arriving at CCF it was decided to name the males after famous scientists and researchers, and they were collectively known as “The Scientists” (Fossey, Mendel, Livingston and Darwin).

Fossey and his coalition of males have lived in a large 13 hectare enclosure we call “Elands Pen” the last few years with two females, Polly and Rohini. The males loved to spend time with the females most of the day and protect them like sisters. They would usually be found sitting under a tree together grooming. All the males were castrated as they became older so they were able to live together harmoniously. Fossey was easy to tell apart from the other cheetahs as he had a huge fluffy tail, the smallest head with the biggest orange eyes. Fossey was always a character and constantly kept his keepers on their toes. His normal feeding routine would be to chase the feeding vehicle for exercise and then have his food. Fossey figured out quickly that he didn’t need to over exert himself and that if he waited long enough underneath a shaded tree his keepers would bring it to him eventually, even if he didn’t come running very far. He was very picky about his food and would only eat the freshest piece of meat off the bone; he would never have anything else and storm out of his feeding camp if he was offered something else such as chopped meat. Fossey would only ever do what he wanted to do just like your typical house cat! His keepers absolutely loved his strong attitude and sassiness.

In September last year, Fossey was found one morning to have a large abscess under his throat which caused an internal infection. He was given critical care and seemed to bounce back well but when his regular blood work came in soon after, it was showing signs of renal failure. This is unfortunately not something that is treatable and can only have its symptoms managed. Fossey then under went training in a catch cage so that he could receive his daily medication and fluids without any stress. Fossey was a perfect patient and would always be waiting eagerly for his keepers each morning, most of the time he would be purring during his short time in the cage receiving fluids. Unfortunately, the disease progressed quickly, and his health continued to decline, with nothing more the CCF team could do. The decision was made to euthanize him, with no pain or suffering for Fossey.

Fossey was an incredible cat to work with and will be deeply missed by all his keepers.

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