Our yearly Namibia Vet Safari trip with vet students from Murdoch University (Australia) is currently underway. The first stop was CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) in central Namibia where the students learned about Cheetah conservation, farming with predator methods, conservation tourism and guard dog initiative. They got to see and experience an annual health check of a female Cheetah done under anaesthesia. On our last morning it was time for the Cheetah Run activity where they get their exercise by chasing a lure. These captive Cheetahs came to CCF as orphans with their mother shot and although they cannot be released into the wild they play an important role in education. Was amazing seeing them run. I love how they use their tails to balance when turning at speed. CCF plays an important role in the conservation of these beautiful cats on Namibia’s commercial farmland. Next stop Etosha!
Etosha National Park was the next stop on our ongoing Namibia Vet Safari. We had a wonderful time and were treated to some brilliant game viewing. One of the highlights were our last evening at the camp waterhole where we first watched a breeding herd of Elephants drinking at sunset, followed by Spotted Hyenas, 2 young male Lions and 4 Black Rhino. We ended up with sightings of 14 different Black Rhinos of which 7 were seen during the day. What a fantastic place to learn about conservation tourism. Next stop N/a’an ku sê Foundation.
We had a very exciting first couple of days at N/a’an ku sê Foundation with the current Namibia Vet Safari trip. After the introduction and a tour to meet all the resident animals at the sanctuary the students joined a Baboon Walk in the morning and Cheetah Walk in the afternoon which offers both species extra stimulation. The following day was all about wildlife vet work with a few fascinating presentations, a dart gun practical and a health checkup on one of the resident Cheetahs.
Today the students learned more about the role of the wildlife vet in research. After an introduction on telemetry tracking, the students got to experience and practice in the field as we tracked the recently introduced African Wild Dogs onto the neighboring reserve. These dogs came to the sanctuary as puppies and now that they are big enough they were given a second chance in the wild with the introduction. They managed to make a Hartebeest kill only a few weeks after being introduced. We managed to track them down and spend a couple of hours with them.
We started the day by treating an injured Meerkat before assisting with a Baboon castration. In the afternoon it was time for a health checkup on one of the resident Caracals. Not often you get the chance to get this close to one of these beautiful cats. Tonight it was time for a bush braai. Nothing better than sitting around the camp fire listening to a lion roar.
Today was one of the highlights of the trip. We had to move 10 African Wild Dogs to a new enclosure before they will hopefully be released later this year. With so many dogs it was all hands on deck and well done to all for ensuring that everything went well and the dogs are happy in their new temporary home. There was time to dart and treat an injured Impala as well. Tomorrow this adventure comes to an end but before we say goodbye it is time to do a health check on one of the Cheetahs before fitting a collar and releasing it back into the wild. What a great way to finish. We look forward to welcoming this group back next year!