As an intern, the Cheetah Conservation Fund served as a place with an abundance of knowledge where I would gain some experience in my field of study. I found out about CCF through my university, Oregon State, as one of the options for zoology majors as a study abroad internship through IE3 Global. The ten weeks that I spent at CCF (Sept. 29th to Dec 5th) was full of new experiences and I loved every minute of it. What I enjoyed most at CCF was the strong communal atmosphere and the variety of different tasks that you get to do. From the day I arrived, the staff and fellow interns were so welcoming and were an amazing group to work with.
CCF gives you your daily tasks like dog husbandry, cleaning the center pens, helping with center feeding, or cheetah husbandry. Along with these tasks, there are project(s) that you will be assigned to. While I was at CCF, I helped Jenny, the intern supervisor and operations supervisor, update the database for a cheetah named Hifi who was collared in 2008. I had to look through tracking logs, list the points where he was sighted, and place them into a master spreadsheet. From this spreadsheet, we put in formulas to calculate information from when he was released like how far he traveled per day. I also helped, Kate, the International Cheetah Studbook Assistant, make updates on the births and deaths spreadsheets for captive cheetahs up to 2013. If there are other things that you’re interested in doing, always let Jenny know. I spoke with the veterinarian here, Mari-Ann, to see if I could do some clinic work while I was here since I was planning to apply to veterinary school when I graduated. By speaking with both of them, I got scheduled into the clinic and learned how to do anesthesia monitoring during puppy sterilizations and stitching up a cheetah’s leg after it got into a fight. I learned so much from CCF like the livestock guarding dog program which uses Anatolian Shepard dogs to lower livestock losses to predators on farms, tracking a cheetah using radio telemetry, using scat detection dogs as a way to gather information on large carnivores, and how to feed and care for the cheetahs at CCF.
My time here at CCF was a great opportunity to see an alternative career option, as well as expand my experience in veterinary medicine. CCF became my home away from home, and it was an awesome place to work at. I have established professional connections through this internship, and I have made so many friends who are from all over the world. I am extremely grateful to the entire staff at CCF and the interns for making this internship a spectacular one.