And the winner is – December 2016 CHEETAH PHOTO CAPTION COMPETITION

 “THE LAST ANTELOPE WHO SAID ‘OPEN WIDE’ WAS LUNCH”

Well done Annie who will be getting a $50 Zoo Voucher to spend on Cheetah Outreach merchandise (LINK http://www.cheetah.co.za) which we sell at the ZOO SHOP to support their practical and successful cheetah conservation work in South Africa. 

Thanks to everyone who entered like Amanda “Do my teeth need whitening?”.   There were a few obscure entries “On the savannah, the mighty savannah, the Cheetah roars tonight” Carla, USA or  “That emu has a blue mohawk! HA HA!!” from Gabby and a few with a Christmas theme “Must…….stretch…….jaw…….must…….fit…….Santa’s…..big belly…. in this year if we catch him!” from Tania. or “This is the face you make when you step on a lego block in bare feet on Christmas morning” from Armando.  Plus a few which made us laugh but we can’t publish!

Look out for our next photo caption competition – as part of this month’s conservation focus on Snow Leopards and the great work of the Snow Leopard Trust  www.snowleopard.org  

THE PLIGHT OF THE CHEETAH

This is an extract from the website of Cheetah Outreach (Conservation organisation in South Africa):

The fastest land animal in the world is losing its most important race: the race for survival. At the turn of the century an estimated 100,000 cheetah lived in 44 countries throughout Africa and Asia. 

Today, there are an estimated 6,600 cheetahs left in the wild.

The primary reason for the cheetah’s decline is shrinking range due to habitat loss throughout Africa.  Drastic increases in human population and proliferation of domestic animals has led to loss of habitat and prey, and increasing conflict with man.

Because it is low in the predator hierarchy, the cheetah faces competition from other predators and does not do well in parks and reserves with large lion and hyena populations. Competition with other large predators takes the form of direct predation on cubs, occasional killing of adults, and loss of kills. As a result, more cheetahs live outside protected areas where they come into conflict with farmers.

Being a daytime hunter, the cheetah is an easier target than other predators for harassment by tourists. In many parks and reserves, tourist vehicles routinely disrupt cheetah hunts. 

Past capture of wild cheetah for private use has led to the near extinction of the Asian population. Cheetahs don’t breed well in captivity and removal of individuals reduces genetic diversity in the wild.”

To read more about the conservation work of Cheetah Outreach visit their website. http://www.cheetah.co.za/c_plight.html 

Cheetah Outreach merchandise is sold at the Billabong Zoo Shop which helps the amazing work the Cheetah Outreach team is doing to help the Cheetahs in South Africa – 

Also visit, for further information, the entry of the Cheetah on IUCN Red List: Vulnerable  http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/219/0

How Anatolian Shepherd Guard Dogs are saving cheetahs in South Africa.

As part Billabong Zoo’s commitment to  “Conservation through Education” we are highlighting  some of the great work conservation organisations are doing throughout the world. This month we are focussing on the Cheetah – sadly on the IUCN Red List as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED.

This is an extract from the website of  Cheetah Outreach in South Africa (where Billabong Zoo obtained our beautiful cheetah brothers Vongani and Warrior) 

It took 4 million years of evolution for the cheetah to become the exceptional animal it is today and only 100 years for man to place it on the [critically] endangered list. Now the fastest land animal in the world is losing its most important race: the race for survival.  At the turn of the 20th century, an estimated 100,000 cheetahs lived throughout Africa and in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Today there are only about 6,600 of these majestic cats left in the wild…”

an_project2As a result of the success of Cheetah Conservation Fund’s livestock guarding dog programme in Namibia, a trial programme was launched by De Wildt’s Wild Cheetah Management Project (WCMP) and Cheetah Outreach in 2005 to introduce the Anatolian shepherd to serve farmers in South Africa. To give this trial the best possible chance of success, farmers were carefully selected and given an information booklet outlining introduction and management strategies for their dogs, collated from CCF literature and experiences, as well as veterinary protocols to ensure health. For optimal results, dogs need to be fit. To promote a good working diet and veterinary care, costs are sponsored by the programme for the first year. The rest is in the hands of the farmer who must invest interest during the initial critical period. This will often be the deciding factor that ensures success in the rearing of a productive guarding dog. [note: Basically the dog protects the herd from a possible cheetah attack, the cheetah moves on for other prey and the farmers stop killing the cheetahs as they are no threat to their livestock. A simple and effective way of humans and wildlife co-existing.]

“Since the programme was implemented, Anatolian guard dogs have been placed on farms in cheetah range in Limpopo and North West Provinces, where they have reduced livestock losses from 95 to 100%. Though mostly used to guard sheep and goats, for the first time in southern Africa, some dogs have been used to successfully guard cattle and some are now guarding wild game such as springbok and nyala.”

For more information visit the Cheetah Outreach website on:  http://www.cheetah.co.za/an_project.html. Billabong Zoo stocks and sells Cheetah Outreach products in our Zoo Shop which helps support the invaluable work they are doing. We also promote their work at our daily Zoo Keeper talks at the Zoo @ 3pm.

Focus on conservation – cheetahs – December 2016

This month we focus on the plight of the Cheetah in our Conservation focus. Sunday the 4th December is the International Day of the Cheetah (http://internationalcheetahday.com) which also co-incides with World Wildlife Conservation Day (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/world-wildlife-conservation-day/)

Sadly the cheetahs appear on the IUCN Red List (International Union for the Conservation of Nature): status of North African cheetah: Critically Endangered. IUCN status of sub-Saharan cheetah: Vulnerable.  At the turn of the 20th century, an estimated 100,000 cheetahs lived throughout Africa and in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Today there are only about 6,600 of these majestic cats left in the wild.

As part of Billabong Zoo’s commitment to “Conservation through Education” we will be posting blogs and entries about cheetahs to our website and Facebook sites throughout this month as well as highlighting the plight of the cheetahs at our Zoo Keeper talks to visitors at Billabong Zoo. We are also supporters of Cheetah Outreach (www.cheetah.co.za) and sell their merchandise through our Zoo Shop which in turn helps the great work they are doing in South Africa.

We would like visitors to this page to enter our Cheetah photo caption competition. Just send us a caption to go with this great photograph of one of our two cheetah brothers (taken by one of our regular photographic contributors, Carole Grant). No more than 15 words. Simply use our website entry form. Winner gets a $50 Cheetah Outreach gift voucher and they also go into the major end-of year-draw (announced December 2017) along with 4 runners-up to win an Up-close Personal  Animals Encounters day at Billabong Zoo with some of our ambassador animals (details to be posted soon).  Entries for the Cheetah Photo Caption Competition close on 24th December 2016 with the winner (and runners-up) notified by the end of the year.

Good luck. We look forward to reading your captions.  And please do visit the following websites:

http://internationalcheetahday.com and www.cheetah.co.za