Apr 16 2018

Dr. McCormick – Cheetah Conservation in Africa

Dr. Matthew McCormick is spending the month of April in Central Namibia in Southwestern Africa working at the Cheetah Conservation Center. Here is what Dr. McCormick has to say about his trip so far…

“Well, almost two weeks down working at the Cheetah Conservation Center. This is a research and teaching center that works to decrease human-wildlife conflict by both the carnivore side and the farm animal side of the equation. The center has a very successful Anatolian Shepherd breeding operation and places the dogs with livestock farmers as a deterrent to predation by not only cheetahs but other carnivores. The center also has a working goat dairy and sheep operation to demonstrate how this can all work together. They make delicious cheese, fudge and ice cream. Tiring days, I thought I was on my feet a lot at the clinic! The day starts early with either checking goats for ticks, wounds or horrendously long spines imbedded in their feet from Acacia trees or feeding and caring for 20 dogs. Then, the middle of the day is preparing food for and then feeding 37 captive cheetahs in various places. That is the best part. Then back to goats or dogs in the afternoon. Several days a week we do cheetah runs to exercise the cats. They are using a lure system that the cheetahs pursue around a preset course. The lure can be controlled for direction and speed. It is very cool to watch. The lures are pieces of old t-shirts that occasionally get eaten by the pursuing cheetah. Some of the cats are more enthusiastic than others, just like house cats. Some just sit on the line and wait for the lure to come back around again. We spent 4 days last week doing a census count on various plots of land of all the animals we encountered. It was great, like mini safaris each day!”

Best friends, Nick and Kaya

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