Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Best of Year One: #5

Petting a Cheetah

Yes, you read that correctly. I petted a real, live cheetah. The Mokolodi Game Reserve near Gaborone has two male cheetahs that were rescued from the wild after their mother was killed. They were too young to care for themselves and so they have stayed at the game reserve since.

A guide drove us down to the cheetah enclosure. It is sad to see animals caged up now, but they would have never made it in the wild. We walked around for a while, looking for them. We finally found one curled up sleeping under a tree. I could walk right up to it and pet its head.

I was surprised when the cheetah started purring, just like a house cat. We squatted and stroked his head and he purred and stretched and acted just like a big cat. the whole experience was a little surreal. It just didn't seem like the cheetah should be so calm and not care about a bunch of people petting him. It was a great experience and I doubt I will be that close to a big cat for a while.