Africa Trip – Day 6 Cheetah Experience

June 11, 2017

Today we slept in to about 10am before we got ready for the day and headed to the farm to spend our anniversary with as many animals as we could!

When we arrived, Emmett was taking orders for everyone to order Chinese food which sounded perfect to Joey and I.

We went to farm to babysit at 11 for a little bit, the cubs crazy as ever. Since it was our day off we weren’t technically obligated to fulfill our babysitting shift but it’s too fun to pass up. Joey and I played with them for awhile before Joey went to sit with the wolves and Grace took his place babysitting.

IMG_5984Before leaving the enclosure, I wanted to say goodbye to the cubs and naturally, as they were playing with the toy, Phoenix rolled over and nicked my hand pretty good with his claws. It wasn’t his fault. If anything I was in his way of the toy but he gave me quite the souvenir to show my friends and family back home!

I headed over to Lion Side and decided to join Joey in spending time with the wolves. We sat on the platform giving them both attention as they were very much wanting it today. Joey found Nakita’s favorite spot to be scratched and she looked as if she was dancing, going crazy with his scratching. It was funny because after he discovered this she wouldn’t leave him alone! A tour even went by and he displayed it for the tourists and they laughed and took pictures. It’s funny seeing them carry out behaviors that we see in everyday dogs!IMG_5995

Joey went to have a quick meeting with some of the staff members regarding the database project and I joined Margalit, who also had the day off, to meet Legacy. She was super friendly and I fell in love immediately. She was so happy that we were visiting her and started up a loud purr. Towards the end of our visit with her, she got interested in the three girls who are in the next enclosure over and sat up like a meerkat to look at them! It was so cute!DSC_0352DSC_0379

Quickly before heading to do other activities, I went with Poofy to take some pictures for her of her clicker training the leopards around the farm. DSC_0258.jpg

Before the big feed on Lion Side, we went on an enrichment walk with Nova and Aurora. Unfortunately, there was a huge group of tourists and Aurora got really scared so she stayed with a staff member while the rest of us continued the walk with Nova. These two leopards are about 2.5 years old so their only 6 months away from being fully grown. Nova was super sweet and very good walking on a leash. It was amazing seeing how well behaved she was as well with her connection with Poofy.

IMG_6038During Lion Side feed, Joey finally was able to feed his tiger friend Fushan. He mooed the whole time and was sad when there wasn’t more than a couple pieces of chicken waiting for him.IMG_6058

Evening came around and it was our turn to have a sleepover with the three cheetah cubs! One of the activities we had been excited for since we booked our trip. We took the CE van from our unit to the farm which, Joey thought wouldn’t be a problem but the stick shift was tricky and we stalled quite a few times before reaching our parking space.

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We entered the enclosure in the dark and the three of them looked at us, scared and hissing which put us off a little but we continued towards them talking softly until we approached them and let them sniff our hands. Once Tinashe, the boy, realized that we were friendly he started purring loudly right away. Abigale stayed behind him watching us cautiously and Joyce left the platform altogether.

We went about setting up our bed, spreading out a sleeping-bag and quilt and laying down. I lied closest to the three cubs and my hip landed in a nice wet puddle of pee. Yup. I’m thinking that they might have peed when we first arrived and startled them but either way they are wild animals and they are just babies. After awhile, Joyce joined us on the platform again and soon enough all three of them, especially Tinashe, began cuddling, purring loudly, and trying to groom us. It was absolutely amazing and adorable! Once I got a bit sick of lying in pee and Joey got tired of lying on the hard surface, we got out the single mattress from below the platform and remade our bed. One we got comfy again, the cubs rearranged themselves and I could no longer tell them apart. Whenever they would go to lay on me, they’d outstretch their leg in the direction they wanted to lay and then they’d plop down on me.

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Throughout the night we would hear the lions and the wolves roaring and howling back and forth to each other along with the barking of German shepherds in the distance. I was able to fall asleep on and off but unfortunately Joey got little to no sleep up and we were at 5am ready to head back to our unit to shower and get 1 good hour of sleep before back to the farm for chores again!

Seeing their big eyes and hearing purrs so close throughout the night, of course along with cuddles, was an unforgettable experience.

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