I was surprised to learn that my favorite animals at CCF were the goats! I worked with most of the animals at CCF’s model farm and education centre, including the cheetahs, Livestock Guarding Dogs (LGD), and sheep. The goats were my favorites. Most days, I have been assigned to goat checks with Aron a Namibian intern. We observe the entire herd twice a day and assessed goats or sheep medical attention needs. The goats and sheep were also vaccinated against Pasteurella, which can cause respiratory disease under stressful conditions in livestock. This was how I helped to vaccinate 300 animals!
The goats were vaccinated for diseases like Orf, which is endemic disease caused by a parapox virus. By watching the goats, I have found they are incredibly unique animals with just as much personality as dogs and cats. They can be very affectionate and they do enjoy human attention. CCF’s model farm has top-notch preventative care for serious medical conditions which was a great opportunity to observe and learn.
The Livestock Guarding Dogs at CCF were amazing too. I have always been a little dog lover, but the Anatolian shepherds have captured my heart. They play an integral role in CCF’s work by diverting predators away from local farmers’ livestock, preventing predation and financial losses to the local farmers. The LGDs never fail to show their enthusiasm for humans and it was a joy to go see them.
Recently, one of the dogs had a litter of puppies and I was able to see my first dog birth! The instinctual care the mother has for her puppies, something I will never forget. I am grateful to have gained this experience since most domestic pet animals in the United States are neutered.
By the end of my internship, I was glad to finally begin telling some of the cheetahs apart. My favorite was Amani, with a beautiful face, one eye, and a very spunky personality.
CCF was the perfect choice for the adventure I was seeking and has far exceeded my expectations! I started my first working day as a veterinary intern at CCF on May 15th not knowing exactly what to expect or what my future experiences would hold. I knew that cheetahs were my favorite animal and the opportunity to work and learn about them could not be passed. Going into my third year of veterinary school on my last summer break, I wanted to partake in an experience that would truly leave an impact on my life.
I was greeted by friendly and welcoming staff. CCF has been a true example of how diversity in the workplace promotes unity and more productivity. It was a pleasure to get to know different people from different European countries, Africa and the US!
My experience at CCF was one of a kind and it was a true blessing. My time there flew by and my only regret is that I did not plan a longer internship. I couldn’t have picked a better experience for my first trip to Africa. In the future, I hope to plan many more and would most definitely consider coming back to CCF!
Mary Jordan is veterinary student at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in US.