Africa Trip – Day 4 Cheetah Experience

June 9, 2017

A shorter blog today.

As per the trend of these entries, the morning started as a very cold one. So cold in fact that all of the water bowls had frozen at least half way through.

IMG_5714.JPGToday Joey and I tried to spend the majority of our free time with the wolves. Since we’ve been told that they have a bit more difficulty trusting men, we’ve been trying to go in with them frequently in order to help them trust Joey. Thankfully they both have been allowing him to pet them which is good! They’re a bit cautious but at least they’re letting him show affection.

DSC_0306After our free time a group of us followed and watched as Poofy did clicker training with the leopards. It was really interesting to watch them learn! She had them open their mouths and put their paws up in order to have easier medical checks in the future. Of course, they were always rewarded with a bite of chicken.

Margalit brought me to be introduced to Faith and Eden (two of the ambassador cheetahs) for first time. Faith is a little bit of a special cheetah as she had a form of meningitis as a cub so now her tail is curled and she does a little bit of a march when she walks. She also can get interactions confused so instead of licking she might nibble instead. It’s alright though, she means well.

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Eden is her caretaker and looks out for her, even cleaning her face when she’s made a mess while eating. They’re an incredible pair. They were also on quarantine since we’ve been here which was why we weren’t able to interact with them during cheetah induction yesterday. Eden was a little bit elusive, keeping her distance and watching us, but Faith was ready to give us love! Margalit and I took turns taking photos of each other but I was a bit rooted for awhile as Faith found my leg to be a good pillow. It was so surreal and just made my heart burst. Eden eventually came around us but was more interested in watching the neighboring farm’s donkeys.

DSC_0146.JPGLater in the afternoon we walked the three cubs: Phoenix, Gemini, and Hazel as a big group, all of us taking turns walking the three through the back of the farm. They were so silly but loved being out there! It was both cute and sad that the leopards kept getting thorns in their paws which they’d stop and pluck out with their teeth before trying to spit them back into the dirt.

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Walking Hazel the serval cub
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The best picture I took of Gemini on our enrichment walk

Today was Wendy’s last day so after our big walk we had our send off before she headed to the airport.

I got to feed Fushan again, never passing the opportunity to do so! He’s just such a big sweetie.

Today was another big feed day and I got to throw chicken to the servals and one of them, Michael I think, caught it mid-air; it was like something straight out of National Geographic! I also got an amazing shot of Shrek the leopard getting his food out of his tree. We try to put the pieces in hard to reach places so that they sort of have to hunt and work for their meal.DSC_0995.JPG

After feed, since I didn’t have any afternoon chores, and also because I had pestered multiple times through the day, Janet took Joey and I into see the three girls. I had only seen them during feeding time so now that we were interacting face to face, we needed someone who already knew them. Neo proved to be the friendliest of the three, coming right up to Janet and purring as Joey and I pet her. Juno was lying next to her and I managed to get her to purr a few times which made me very happy. Hunter was friendly too but was busy walking around and looking into other enclosures. Overall a great way to end the day. Sitting with three stunning cheetahs as the sun began to set.

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