Chaircat’s Letter

Chaircat’s Letter June 2008

»Posted on Jun 1, 2008 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter June 2008

My Dear Friends, as usual I talk to you during the onset of the rains when nature renews itself in our neighborhood. This year has brought delay, not just in the onset of the rains. As you are all no doubt aware the beginning of 2008 in Kenya was nothing for any decent Cheetah (or other) to write home about, indeed humans around here are still ashamed of what has taken place that left such a nasty mark on the history of this otherwise exceptional country. There are in fauna related literature a number of fables with lessons on the consequences of such primeval (‘animalistic’) behavior. Even amongst the media, members accused each other of a “feeding frenzy” over reporting the events, something otherwise only witnessed amongst sharks or the...

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I had a dream…

»Posted on Aug 14, 2007 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

I had a dream…

Last night I had a dream. I dreamt that a new party wanted me as their symbol. Because I never change my spots, they said. I had to consider this very carfully because I already serve as Chaircat on the board of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. So I asked them what this new party was all about. I had heard about such things. Here in Kenya they used to have a cockerel for one party and a donkey for another.  The donkey is popular because they use it in America too. Then an African, the mighty elephant was given the job of symbol for another party. It didn’t mean too much because the only African American presidential hopeful there did not join the party with the African elephant. He went for the donkey. The incumbent there stands with the elephant....

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Cats just know things…

»Posted on Jul 31, 2007 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Cats just know things…

Did you hear about Oskar the cat that spends time with patients on their deathbed in the nursing home? It’s been on all the news lately. No one can figure out how Oskar knows who’s about to depart and who will be around for a while in the geriatric nursing home where he “works.” As a member of the cat family I must say I don’t understand what all the fuzz is all about. Of course we know such things. And of course we care. We are cats are we not? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6917113.stm Recommend on Facebook Tweet about...

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Chaircat’s Letter July 2007

»Posted on Jul 1, 2007 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter July 2007

My dear Friends, in Kenya, rain is usually concentrated in two brief periods during the year. Oddly, this first half of the year it has been almost one long stretch of rain, denying the usual drought its disastrous effects. Never have we seen so much green for so long. Fewer animal orphans resulted. The vegetation around us has been regenerated almost overnight. Once again there is plenty of green grass and browse for the animals. The trees look alive and healthy with a new dress of shade-giving foliage. Here at the Orphanage we used the time to make repairs and improve the facility. The older holding pens have had a makeover keeping in mind foremost the animals’ needs. Oliver, our boisterous orphaned little Buffalo had to be banned from the general open...

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Chaircat’s Letter July 2007

»Posted on Jul 1, 2007 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 2 comments

Chaircat’s Letter July 2007

My Dear Friends, in Kenya, rain is usually concentrated in two brief periods during the year. Oddly, this first half of the year it has been almost one long stretch of rain, denying the usual drought its disastrous effects.   Never have we seen so much green for so long. Fewer animal orphans resulted. The vegetation around us has been regenerated almost overnight. Once again there is plenty of green grass and browse for the animals. The trees look alive and healthy with a new dress of shade-giving foliage. Here at the Orphanage we used the time to make repairs and improve the facility. The older holding pens have had a makeover keeping in mind foremost the animals’ needs. Oliver, our boisterous orphaned little Buffalo had to be banned from the general open...

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The Chaircat’s Letter of March 2007

»Posted on Mar 1, 2007 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

The Chaircat’s Letter of March 2007

My Dear Friends, for those of us that are born optimists, 2007 has started well. Unusual amounts of heavy precipitation may have caused some havoc in parts of East Africa, but for us here at the Conservancy the rain has had some very positive results. The vegetation is once again very lush and thick, the way it has not been for many years. Birdlife is abundant. There have been comparatively few orphaned animals brought in, probably due to the fact that the rain has allowed nature to feed her own. Our big New Years gift has been an unusual award: The esteemed American Association of Zoos and Aquariums every year carefully studies wildlife efforts all over the world. The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy has been placed third on their list of… “Top Ten...

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The Chaircat’s Letter of December 2006

»Posted on Dec 1, 2006 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

The Chaircat’s Letter of December 2006

My Dear Friends, with the holiday season in full swing and the New Year on the doorstep I have much good news to report. At long last it has now been confirmed that one small group of Bongo still survives on Mount Kenya. The group are reported to live in a remote area of dense forest, almost impenetrable to man. They have managed to remain hidden there undetected for almost ten years. The Conservancy’s work to breed the mountain bongo for the eventual return to Mount Kenya is progressing well and now becomes more important than ever. Research is ongoing and we will keep you informed in our bongo rehabilitation segment. The other good news I have for you concerns our striped friends, the rare white Zebra. A group of 50 of these magnificent animals gets to...

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The Chaircat’s Letter of April 2006

»Posted on Apr 1, 2006 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

The Chaircat’s Letter of April 2006

My Dear Friends, I must apologize for my prolonged absence… Lately developments here the animal Orphanage have seen me literally pushed into the background. I have not been privileged to share the affections of our lovely female Cheetah Isis. For some time now, preference and visitation privileges have favored the handsome Cheetah “Sultan.” Sadly for her, Isis has equally rejected the Sultan’s advances. After all, his beauty is only spotted skin deep. At last they have permitted us back to visit and enjoy female feline companionship on a regular basis again. Lately there is talk of settling other female replica near us. The accommodations are almost ready and we are most excited about the prospects. Meanwhile, we look forward for you to...

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The Chaircat’s Letter of November 2005

»Posted on Nov 20, 2005 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

The Chaircat’s Letter of November 2005

Christmas is almost here! November is a very special month in Kenya. Our short rainy season started early this year, and very welcome after the devastating drought of the first 6 months which cost the lives of many of our older friends in the animal world. In-between the storm clouds, God’s mountain reveal itself dressed in white, as if to prepare for the festive season ahead. The Conservancy is green and sparkling with dew and clusters of color from the wild flowers and shrubs. The early rain has brought an abundance of colorful tropical birds as well, all chattering with the message of plentiful food for all. Our feature story for the holidays: The Last Wilderness, describes one of the most beautiful parts of Kenya, a harsh and hot place of rugged beauty,...

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The Chaircat’s Letter September 2005

»Posted on Sep 1, 2005 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

The Chaircat’s Letter September 2005

My dear friends, it has been a long and wonderful summer for most of you and a lovely cool respite from the recent draught for us. Activities at the Cheetah breeding compound here at the Animal Orphanage have been lively. Sultan, our cousin, friend and adversary has been visiting often. Many times this has led to some disagreements between we males, mostly concerning the charms and favors of the lovely Cheetah Diana. She, in turn has of course with impeccable Cheetah-lady manners ignored such episodes. But even she could not hide the fact that her affections lean towards my person, although this may be a result of my meticulous watch over her honor. As a reward I have had the pleasure of her company for a few brief assigned days and nights ‘in...

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Chaircat’s Letter November 2004

»Posted on Nov 1, 2004 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter November 2004

My Dear Friends, It has been a long 3 months since I last spoke to you from my lofty tree house at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. I apologize to those of you that looked for news on this page in vain, but we have not been idle. The new Conservancy office is now open to the public at Mount Kenya Safari Club, with Susan our Public Relations Officer presiding. The office has proved very popular with visitors and members alike. Everyone seems to enjoy the wildlife photos of their favorite animals, and all the news and details Susan can provide. More often than not, a chat over a welcome cup of Kenyan coffee results in a new conservationist being born… Susan just adores bringing them over to us at the Orphanage to discover their own capacity for big...

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Chaircat’s Letter June 2004

»Posted on Jun 1, 2004 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter June 2004

My Dear friends, The rains have come and gone with force. Many parts of the country were flooded, lives endangered and crops lost. Here at the Conservancy we were lucky. We received a little more than the usual amount of rain, once again turning the Ranch into emerald pastures laced with lush bushy vegetation. And yes folks, there’s romance in the air! The BIG news is that Mama Duma did not forget us. Through her and with the help of our longtime friend Stefanie Powers the Conservancy was awarded a long desired grant to build a Cheetah breeding facility right here at the Orphanage. The moment the good news was received, work began on the designs and costing. The decision has been made. Our new quarters will be built in what was the suni sanctuary which has...

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Chaircat’s Letter April 2004

»Posted on Apr 1, 2004 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter April 2004

My dear friends, April is one month that brings rain pretty much all over the world. It nourishes and cleans, and nature emerges in fresh splendor. We had several new arrivals here at the Orphanage. George our lonely Vervet monkey gets at least some company. The new piglet is adorable but headstrong, all two pounds of it. Already he acts like a challenger to my position of Chaircat. Warthogs grow up very fast, but I feel fairly safe. Instinctively, to me, he looks better as a tasty meal and who would want a "Chairpig" in charge of anything, anyway!! Sadly we had to say good bye to Brandy our old African Caracal cat. Brandy was a retired ‘actress’ and never quite found her way back into the wild. Recently she had become geriatric and a little...

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Chaircat’s Letter March 2004

»Posted on Mar 1, 2004 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter March 2004

My dear Friends, March brings us the vernal equinox and that means spring for most of you that live north of the equator. Here in Kenya it means a promise of rain. It has not been too hot this year, in fact we were lucky to miss out on the usual drought. Everything is still flowering and there are an unusual number of birds, they wake me with their chirps and song at daylight every morning. Later, when the sun tickles my face and the shadows play camouflage with my spots I often doze off. "What do you think he’s dreaming of" …I heard it said many times. With spring in the air, and romance on my mind, I want to share with you the object of my dreams: My perfect ten!! I know you will enjoy ‘Mama Duma’s story about our big cat...

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Chaircat’s Letter January 2004

»Posted on Jan 1, 2004 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter January 2004

My dear...

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Chaircat’s Letter December 2003

»Posted on Dec 1, 2003 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter December 2003

My dear Friends, Christmas is almost here! We had tremendous rain here in Kenya and the country is very green and pretty. When the clouds finally parted, after the last storm, a white Mount Kenya emerged. Just in time to get everyone into a festive mood. Everyone here is very busy preparing and as usual, we animals too can expect a treat come Christmas Day. Lots of Children will visit. Many of them will share some cookies or other fruity goodies with the other animals. As for us carnivores, I suppose “Mama Duma” (as we call Iris) will get us a fat Chicken, raw and with feathers of course, I drool just thinking of it. Not every one is so lucky of course. To demonstrate, the Kosterman’s (Valerie this time) have honored us with another one of their...

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Chaircat’s Letter October 2003

»Posted on Oct 1, 2003 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter October 2003

My dear friends, Rather than bore you with another image of my stately self, I have decided to share this page with a picture of my handsome cousins. They live in the famed Maasai Mara Game Reserve. The picture was taken a few months ago by our friend and supporter John Klosterman on safari from Florida… It brought home to me how beautiful we really are when photographed in our natural habitat by someone with patience and skill. Thank you John! I hear that my cousins living in the Maasai Mara National Park are doing well. Our own families’ ancestral home, the Nairobi Game Park is still awaiting a revival. The good news is that there are friends working on a solution to save the park. However, hopefully soon, Sis Diana will be introduced to...

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Chaircat’s Letter September 2003

»Posted on Sep 21, 2003 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter September 2003

My dear friends, People often ask: "What is your winter like?" It is truly terrible. The temperature drops by 5 to 10 degrees to give us days in the 70ties and nights in the lower 50ties. Huge brilliant clouds in a hundred shades of white and grey play hide and seek with the mountain and give us rare re-assuring glimpses of the peaks. The mornings are cool and filled with dew turning the new green leaves into silvery kaleidoscopes. Oftentimes, in the afternoon with the sun low in the west we are treated to magnificent panoramic rainbows. There is no dust to dull the view and everything is clean and sharply in focus. My world feels new and young and at peace. Recently I have indulged in a mutual pastime with millions of humans all over the world: Mars...

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Chaircat’s Letter August 2003

»Posted on Aug 1, 2003 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter August 2003

My good friends, It is still cool, but the clouds are lifting with a promise of summer. August is the month of school holidays in most countries; here in Kenya it is travel time for families. Many of them visit us here at the Orphanage. Kenyan families are often large and happy, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Uncles and aunts and of course the children of which there are many. Cousins are considered brothers and sisters knowing each other well from birth as all the extended family take part in the raising of the next generation. Oftentimes the children, although born in Kenya, have never had a chance to see wildlife. Some of the parents only know the stories told by the Grandparents of times when the plains were filled with game, Lions and Leopards and Rhino were feared and...

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Chaircat’s Letter July 2003

»Posted on Jul 1, 2003 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter July 2003

Here we are all huddled together for warmth, Diana safely in the middle. It is cool these days. The clouds often hang low covering the mountain and forbidding the sun to warm us until later in the day. Although the rains are now officially over, there is still a muddy puddle in the pen where the Rhino spend the night. From my high stand I can see how they love that muddy patch. Each night they take turns to roll in the murky mess until their thick skin is covered and glistens in the evening sun. Then they get up and gallop about like a pair of lovers in the spring. Maybe something will come of it. I will keep watching and keep you informed. Things are very quiet here and we don’t see many people these days. Our keepers are busy making repairs to the...

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Chaircat’s Letter June 2003

»Posted on Jun 1, 2003 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter June 2003

Dear Friends, The month of May was our anniversary here at the Orphanage. My brother Bill, sister Diana and I came here 5 years ago. It would have proved a special day for us had it not been for the fact that I was in the dog box. Yes folks, a cheetah in the dog box, very degrading! It all started when Iris decided to take anniversary pictures. She didn’t take them through the hole in the fence made for this purpose, like she tells everyone else to do. No, she had to come into the pen and walk around us searching for the best light, the best angle, cheered by the keepers shouting, "smile." You know the scenario. As if Cheetahs smiled! Just because she raised us, was our "nanny" so-to-speak when we were orphaned at a young age and in a...

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Chaircat’s Letter May 2003

»Posted on May 1, 2003 in Blog, Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter May 2003

Dear Friends, Thank you all for your numerous and complimentary e-mails, too many to answer individually, but I am charmed at your open admiration of myself! My sister Diana of course could not stand all the attention focused on her handsome brother and insisted… so here’s a photo of us together warmed by the first rays of the sun, as we are most mornings. The rains have finally come to Mount Kenya, but only reluctantly. The irritating dust has settled and a shimmer of green is gracing the plains on the Game Ranch. The air is fresher now and filled with humidity and promise of new life. This is the time our numbers increase and many baby animals will make their entry into our safe environment here at the Ranch later this month. Nursed by their mothers at...

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Chaircat’s Letter April 2003

»Posted on Apr 1, 2003 in Chaircat's Letter | 0 comments

Chaircat’s Letter April 2003

My dear Friends Welcome to our world, and thank you for visiting. You may remember meeting me, I am Duma (Cheetah) Duke, I came here orphaned at a young age, and now I have worked my way up to "Chaircat." It is high summer at Mount Kenya. The steady warm wind has dried out our green surroundings. Balmy air makes we animals lazy. I have even noticed our keepers are not as fast on their two legs and we can get up to some mischief before they even notice these days!! There have been fires in the forest on the mountain set by some misguided humans that don’t wish us well. The brave men of the Kenya Wildlife Service have managed to contain the fires. Hundreds of acres of virgin forest of our natural habitat have been lost and oftentimes animals turn up...

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Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy