My name is Jo and I am the Volunteer and Intern Supervisor as-well-as Assistant Operations Supervisor at CCF Namibia. I am originally from the United States where I worked as a wildlife biologist in Texas and North Dakota before joining the zoo world working as a big cat keeper and lead ungulate keeper at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I met Dr. Laurie Marker during her latest spring tour at my zoo and spoke with her about my passion and dream of working with cats in Africa. Next thing I knew, that exact dream was coming true, and I was on an airplane traveling halfway across the world to start my new life living in Namibia.
I am fortunate to be able to participate in a little bit of everything that goes on here at CCF from helping to take care of our 39 resident cheetahs, to working with our ecology department, to working one-on-one with each one of our interns and volunteers to ensure their CCF Namibia experience is top-notch. I even help in our kraal with raising our goat kids and help Paige, our Livestock Guarding Dog Programme Manager, with the dogs. In addition, I spend quite a bit of time in the office, going over reports, entering data, creating manuals, and assisting to write grants. Truly, I get to be involved in everything! You would not believe how dynamic CCF is!
Not-typical is very typical in the day-to-day life here at CCF. You can plan every minute of your day out first thing in the morning and the next thing you know something happens, from an unannounced group of international traveling students arriving for a day tour of the Centre, to the rare occurrence of a medical emergency, that requires all-hands-on-deck.
Currently, we are gearing up to celebrate International Cheetah Day, on Sunday, the 4th of December. We are hosting a free day out our Centre and are inviting local families and groups to come celebrate cheetahs with us and and watch the daily feeding of our Centre Cheetahs! I have been working extensively with our education manager, Nadja, to plan fun activities throughout the day.
If Namibia might be a little far for you to come visit, don’t worry, there are many ways you can celebrate International Cheetah Day right there, in your home town! You can check out http://internationalcheetahday.com/events/ to see International Cheetah Day events all over the world and at many of the zoos near you. Please find out which one is closest to you!
Or you can participate virtually by joining the conversation on social media by using our Tweet Sheet or making your own tweets using the hashtags #SaveTheCheetah #IntlCheetahDay. You can even swap your online social media profile photo for a cheetah! You can also visit http://internationalcheetahday.com for more ideas, print outs, Facebook cover photos, and more!
Or just go with the first option and hop on the next flight to Namibia and join us here at the Centre!
Well, I better go run and check to see if the Centre Cheetahs have finished eating all of their dinners yet – until next time!