Working Guest Story

From Lunch at the Hot Spot to Dinner with the Resident Cheetahs

  • by Alison Wheeler January 22, 2020
From Lunch at the Hot Spot to Dinner with the Resident Cheetahs

We spent over 24 hours with no Internet or phone signal and CCF is 44 km from the nearest shop. It’s kind of remote out here and most of the interns (and staff for that matter ) don’t remember life before the Internet. So the scene (see above) at the “Hot Spot” during lunchtime was comical.


In the absence of the internet I’ve been taking the opportunity to take more photos of cheetahs. I can tell it’s Tiger Lily because she’s got a small scar across her tear line just visible in the photo.

Speaking of cheetahs, as there are 42 Cheetahs here at CCF at the moment feeding them each day takes quite a while. Cheetahs here are usually fed meat that’s purchased from local farmers and occasionally they will get wild game like zebra. Supplement powder with extra calcium and vitamins are added and you can see it sprinkled on top of the hunks of meat. Cheetahs are picky eaters and they like to keep their food clean in the wild, that’s why at CCF they are usually fed using bowls. The cheetah’s bowls are placed in the feeding pens before they are allowed in. Some cheetahs think that others’ bowls look better than their own. When they are really lucky they get offal (organ meat) full of blood which cheetahs absolutely love. After a dinner of blood and offal they always clean their faces and paws.

As part of CCF’s daily activities visitors can tour the centre and see the ambassador cheetahs. CCF staff are on hand for these visits to talk about the resident cheetahs and CCF’s work. Becky, one of CCF’s cheetah keepers, is one of the team members that talks to guests.

Becky with the cheetahs' dinner bowls

Lora is CCF’s Head Cheetah Keeper and is a fellow Brit! Her duties include caring for CCF’s youngest residents, the very young cubs that become orphaned and are turned over to CCF’s care from the Namibian government. She is one of the staff members who hand raised an orphaned cheetah named Dominic. When he arrived he was too young to survive on his own and needed feeding every two hours and round-the-clock care.

Lora training with a spoon

Lora is a zoologist and used to work at Longleat as a carnivore keeper before being offered a position at CCF. She uses target training with a wooden spoon to encourage distance while giving food rewards. The rewards and training help the Cheetah Keepers to carry out minor treatments and examinations without having to anaesthetise the cheetahs. In Namibia there are strong laws on who can have direct contact with wildlife. Only Cheetah Keepers and Veterinarians have contact with cheetahs within their enclosures. It’s also against the law in Namibia to keep a cheetah as a pet.

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