A eulogy for Mischief

  • by Hannah Mulvany 11 May 2023
A eulogy for Mischief

Mischief along with his siblings, Polly, Phil and Tony were brought to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 2009 when their mother died after getting caught in a fence on a farm. The three brothers were transferred to a lodge in Namibia in 2011, but were returned to CCF in 2014, after Tony was killed by a leopard, and Phil was attacked by baboons.

Since being brought back, Mischief lived together with Phil and they moved together between multiple enclosures at CCF until Phil passed away in 2021. They were always cooperative when it was time to move and adapted easily to any new enclosure, even if they did not necessarily love their neighbour cheetahs.

When Phil passed away, we decided to try and pair Mischief up with his sister Polly who at the time was living with another female called Roheny. The introduction went well, even though the two of them hadn’t lived together for over 10 years. Polly very quickly made sure Mischief knew she was in charge, and he accepted that as well.

Mischief got along with Roheny, but she unfortunately passed soon after the introduction of the three and up until Mischief’s passing, him and Polly lived together at an enclosure we called Eland’s Pen. The two enjoyed their retirement together, and in the mornings they were often found laying side by side on top of a dirt mound in their enclosure, soaking up the first ray of sunshine.

Although all of our cheetahs are special to us in one way or another, Mischief really was one of a kind and a favorite among keepers, volunteers and visitors. With his chatty personality and his amazing ability to catch treats, he won the hearts of everyone who met him. We would always have a whole conversation with him in the morning where he would meow at us and say, ‘hurry up with the food’ while we’re preparing his meds.

He always amazed the guests to hear such a small meow coming from such a big cat, and Mischief was always happy to show off in front of them. On average, cheetahs in captivity can live anywhere between 13 to 16 years. Mischief turned 14 in March of 2023, and being an older cat, he did suffer from a few old age related issues such as kidney failure.

He was carefully monitored, received his daily medications and supplements, and he was trained through positive reinforcement training to receive one litre of subcutaneous fluids three times a week to help out his kidneys, to make sure that he had a good quality of life. When Mischief stopped being chatty towards us, we know he isn’t really feeling very well.

And then a few weeks before he passed away, he stopped talking to us and he didn’t want to come into the feed camps for his meds and his food. We would drive into the enclosure and look for him, and although he definitely wasn’t his normal Mischief, he would still eat as long as we brought it to him and he was also following us around.

So we decided to just monitor him because he sometimes had days where he just didn’t feel like himself and, but then he’d bounced back from it. Since he didn’t show any improvement, we decided to try and get him into the feed camps. Where it’s easier to monitor him, and thankfully, due to the close bond that him and his keepers had and some patients, he eventually followed us in.

He still didn’t improve, so he took a blood sample, which showed us that kidneys were unfortunately even worse than before. The decision was made to do a workup and take a closer look at his condition so he can make a plan on how to improve his quality of life. Despite the best efforts of the cheetah and veterinary teams, Mischief passed away on the morning of the 7th of April, 2023.

During sedating him for his workup, he showed us it was his time, and we are comforted by the thought that he is now at peace. He really was one of a kind cheetah, and he will be greatly missed by his keepers, his sister Polly, and all the people whose lives he touched during his time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

To learn more about our resident cheetahs and support their care, please head to our sponsorship page.

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