We are very sad to report the passing of one of our dearest and longest term residents, Hermione.
Hermione, her sister, Harry, and brother Ron were brought to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 2005 after losing their mother when they were about two months old. Named after the main characters from the Harry Potter book series, they were always a very popular group with visitors, and especially with young children. Compared to most of the other cheetahs, Harry and Hermione were very small, weighing around 30 kilograms. People would often guess that they were much younger than they were, because of their smaller size, and were always very surprised when we would tell them that the sisters were some of our oldest resident cheetahs.
Much like their smaller domesticated counterparts, we find that captive cheetahs are very fond of routine. They like things to stay the same every day! Hermione especially liked her food brought to her at the same time every day, to exercise first thing in the morning before it got too hot, and to be left alone with her sister other than that. She was an extremely intelligent cheetah, and the second that something was different in her daily routine, she sensed the change and reacted accordingly – which normally meant refusing to do whatever we were asking of her that day. Administering annual vaccinations always had to be carefully planned out by the cheetah keeper team, because we would have to start training months in advance to get Hermione comfortable with the catch cage that we use to safely contain the cats for their injections. After months of coaxing with food, and lots of praise and encouragement from her keepers, she would start to go in perfectly every day. However, the day that the veterinary team showed up to do the injection, suddenly she would refuse to go in because extra people were around. We learned a lot of patience working with Hermione, and the training always paid off in the end, as it was always ended up leading to a positive experience for Hermione…even if she did get poked every now and again. We all loved Hermione’s extremely independent, sometimes stubborn personality, even if it did make our days a bit challenging sometimes.
Since losing her sister at the end of April this year, we had moved Hermione to a different enclosure, next to Dr. Laurie and Dr. Bruce’s house, where she could get extra attention and care. We also moved her brother Ron into the enclosure with her, and while they mostly ignored each other and stayed in their separate spaces, I think they both felt relaxed knowing they had a sibling around. Being just over 16 years old, Hermione was one of our oldest resident cheetahs. Typically, in the wild, cheetahs will live between eight to ten years. With proper care, we can often extend their lifespan in captivity, but unfortunately even the best medicine cannot reverse the effects of old age. When Hermione suddenly stopped eating, and started to lose condition, we knew something was wrong, as she was normally extremely feisty and full of energy. Despite the best efforts of the veterinary team and keepers, and days of round the clock care, the decision was made to say goodbye to Hermione so that she would not experience any unnecessary pain or suffering. She was an amazing cat to work with and will be greatly missed by her keepers, and everyone whose life she touched in her 16 years at CCF.
If you would like to support us in provide best care for our resident cheetahs, please consider sponsoring them.