Nikita In Namibia - Day 3

Nikita In Namibia - Day 3

Posted by Connor Whelan on 11th Aug 2015

It was another early morning start, but we were informed that there would be an unusual routine to follow the morning meeting as a film crew were visiting, and this would mean some of the usual activities would not be possible.

The money paid to film in the area helps to further fund the project work, ie. for animal feed, materials for new enclosures, research equipment etc.

I was asked to join the cheetah run group, where one of the staff will set up a wire device which encourages the animals to chase after a blue cloth which is attached to it, and it whizzes around the enclosure once a battery is connected.

Whilst the fully grown cheetahs play, you can’t help but notice the almost oddly similar behaviour in them and that of a house cat! Once they had lost interest in the activity, we stepped out of the enclosure, and threw them all (six!) some chicken.

Following this we were asked to clean Samira’s (the old cheetah) enclosure, which we were happy to do – her story is quite sad, as she was kept illegally and fed dog food amongst other unsuitable things for years, and so came to the sanctuary very malnourished. It was good to hear that she has already lived a number of years longer than was originally expected, and that she may have quite a few more left whilst being well looked after at the sanctuary!

I was then lucky enough to be asked by Amanda to join her on the baby baboon walk – and it was awesome! They run along with you like you’re one of their gang, aswell as leaping on to your head so as to get a better view. We walked with them to an open area with a big tree (which seemed to be a favourite of theirs) and sat with them whilst they jumped around.

The more you relax around them, the more they want to get to know you – and soon take to wanting to play with you too; being swung, being lifted into the air, grooming your hair (which is not an experience I will ever forget!)


Following lunch I joined the research group, and we set off down to a part of the grounds where marking trees have been found previously. On route, we stopped to identify droppings and prints in order to get an idea of animals in the area. We carefully selected some spots that might offer some good camera trap opportunities, attached the cameras securely, checked battery levels and adjusted the settings appropriately, and then cleared any plants that may obstruct them in the hope that they would pick up some great snaps for the research team and future volunteers.

Finally, I need to tell you about my favourite part of the day, and probably of the trip so far!

I had signed up to look after a baby vervet monkey called Precious for the night, and after a couple of little test bites, she decided that I was safe enough to snuggle up to, and tucked herself into the top of my hoody.

I put her nappy on (tail first!) and gave her a bottle of milk which sent her off to sleep. I spent a little longer around the fire with the other volunteers before retreating to the ‘baboon room’ where all of the night buddies for the monkeys stay together.

She was no trouble at all... apart from deciding to sleep right across my face!


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