My first day at the Cheetah conservation Fund (CCF) as an intern, I was scheduled for Centre feeding. Centre feeding is when the husbandry team feeds 11 of CCF’s resident cheetahs. I was a unsure about how I was going to help feed these cheetahs as I had never been in close contact with a wild animal, especially not a predator. I told myself, “ I am not the first person to perform this task and so it should be alright, and there should be a way to do so” as a way to encourage myself.
With time I have learned that harmonious co-existence between humans and predators such is cheetahs is possible. That first fear I had about cheetahs, although feeding them with a barrier (fence) between the cheetahs and I has been turned into understanding and appreciation for cheetahs and other predators. I have assisted with Centre feeding so many times since and it is always an amazing experience; from seeing these cats being like cheetahs in the wild one minute to watching them come close to their feeding pens during usual feeding times by themselves; from hearing them purr to seeing some of the naughty ones trying to snatch other’s meat.
Although I sometimes help out with cheetah husbandry, Centre feeding or cheetah meat preparation, I spend most of my time here helping out in the Veterinary Clinic whenever help is needed. My day as a vet intern starts with goat and sheep health inspections at CCF’s Model Farm before the herd goes out to the field to browse and graze, to ensure only healthy individuals are released. My day ends with another health inspection to ensure the healthy individuals we sent out are back healthy. In between these inspections I assist the veterinary team with cheetah work-ups, livestock guarding dog medical examinations (especially for breeding purposes), horses or small stock examination depending on whichever animal may need medical attention that day.
CCF has three veterinary doctors and a vet technician, who are responsible for the clinical work-ups. This team is wonderful, they are always willing to share their knowledge with me whenever we are doing work-ups or they have a new case they are dealing with. CCF’s clinic is very well equipped with modern medical devices such as an x-ray, ultrasound, and microscopes. I have also learned to enter report data into the file maker.
If you are a vet student or animal science student and you would like to learn something from a different environment, CCF may just be the place for you. CCF is a farm far away from the noise of the city, a place where one can learn so many things at once: veterinary, livestock management, dairy products making, ecology, genetics, and husbandry, just to name a few, depending on your field of interest. I am enjoying my internship, and waking up to the morning melodies of birds is always an amusement.