Monday, 28 September 2009

Xena: the Greatest Cheetah in the World!

Those of you who are regular visitors to my blog will know that I have a particular soft spot for a very special cheetah named Xena!

Xena used to be housed along with 3 other females Jacomina, Emma and Minja as previously mentioned in a previous blog entitled ‘One hell of a crappy week’. In that blog you may recall me talking about our failed attempt to release these girls in the big Bellbenno pen with 13 other females. However, after several months of intense training Jacomina, Minja and Emma have learnt to come when called and chase after the feeding bakkie for their food (Xena had learnt all of this many months ago!). So myself and Kate thought it was time to make a second attempt at letting the girls into the big pen and we are very pleased to say that it has been a great success! Xena of course came for feeding on the very first day, but it took the other 3 girls a couple of days to settle in, but since then they have all started to come to feed regularly and even chase after the car. So we now have 17 cats in the Bellebenno pen and Xena and co now have 50 hectares of land to play in.
Seeing as we could leave the new girls in the pen this time we could now place their name signs at the entrance to the pen but to my horror I realised that Xena was the only cat without a sign! This just would not do, there was no way I was going to stand having every other cats name at the gate without Xena’s!!! So I took it upon myself to take one of our old signs and glue on laminated letters, with an extra note informing whoever enter the pen, be they tourist or staff that Xena is the greatest cheetah in the world!
Since the move Xena appears to have ditched Emma, Minja and Jacomina who have still remained a very tight coalition and are often found together in the same area. Xena is often found in the same area with Luna, and often joins up with the other regular girls when we are running them. Xena is a beautiful runner and is not intimidated by the other girls one bit and I am sure it wont be long before she establishes herself as the top cheetah in the Bellebenno pen!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Little Matt

So my mum has ordered me to update my blog as every time she checks it the first picture she sees is the upturned car that almost killed me so I thought I’d better obey orders. Little Matt is not a nick name for a certain part of my body but is the name we gave to one of our recent volunteers who has earned this great honour of having a whole blog dedicated to him!

Now you may notice that Lil Matt is actually taller than me but the name indicates a difference in status, I am after all a rather important person around here don’t you know (those of you chuckling at that comment can go suck on a particularly sour lemon covered in paper thorns!).

Not only does he have cool name (which means ‘A gift from God’ by the way) but this young American whipper snapper has been one of those rare volunteers that we really wish we could clone as he never complained and got stuck in with whatever we asked of him and worked like a machine. His enthusiasm for the wildlife we have here was infectious although I resisted copying his desire to run after every living creature and groping it. Lil Matt unfortunately had to be pulled out of several holes where terrified animals had run to seek refuge. Alas some poor creatures failed to escape and were made to pose for a picture.

Lil Matt became the first student at Magic Matt’s Driving School! Matt has a licence but wanted to learn how to drive a manual/stick, you see in America you can pass your test on an automatic and still legally drive a manual (yes I know, but we are talking about a country that elected a man dumber than a poorly trained gibbon as president…..twice). At the beginning Lil Matt was like a nervous toddler learning to ride a bike without stabilisers but under my expert tutorage (suck on that lemon again chucklers!) Lil Matt blossomed to a road competent manual driver…..just!!! :)

Lil Matt was also the co-creator of what will soon become a cultural phenomenon – a game that requires skill, courage and cunning and goes by the name of “You’ve been Billied!” I will not go into too much detail as this requires a blog all to itself! So be sure to keep checking in on the African Adventure!

Good luck with school Matt, we already miss you and hope our paths do cross again! Just please try and stay away from creatures that could kill you and be safe on those roads! :)