Tuesday, December 09, 2008

More on Africa...


After visiting the vet school, we stayed at De Wildt’s Cheetah Lodge. The De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust is located near Pretoria and the Hartbeespoort Dam. Their main areas of interest are on helping cheetahs, wild dogs, and vultures, but they help many other species as well. De Wildt has several breeding programs, supports scientific investigations on different species, and promotes public awareness by speaking to school students about conservation and the human/ animal relationship. De Wildt has three AWCs, but they do not breed them. This was our first look at AWCs in person. They are so beautiful; they look like domestic tabby cats, only they are more orange in color, have black-tipped tails, and no white markings. We learned a lot of useful information from our guide not only about the AWCs, but about cheetahs, honey bangers, vultures, wild dogs, and one of their current programs with Anatolian Shepherds (a type of domestic dog). (For a trial period, De Wildt “loans” farmers Anatolian Shepherds to protect livestock from cheetah, lions, etc., so that farmers will not shoot these predators…the dogs scared them away. If the farmers like the dogs, then they can purchase them from De Wildt. This program is working out very well, and it is a non-lethal method of controlling large predators and protecting livestock.) Below are a few of the animals we saw while visiting De Wildt.

(Louise, Maggie, Kylie petting a King Cheetah)

(African Wildcat eating)

(cheetah cubs)

(albino honey badger)

(vulture)

(Anatolian Shepherd)

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