If you are following me on Twitter or Facebook you will already know what fun and amazing thing happened to me today. I posted some photos of what happened but let me tell you the full story.
Growing up there were two jobs that I always wanted to be either a marine biologist or a game ranger. I was always either in the sea or in a game park or nature reserve, I loved being around animals of all kinds and descriptions and have been fascinated with everything about them. Unfortunately I never did become either of my two aspirations but my love for animals is still there. I found a Cheetah interaction sanctuary online a few years ago and have been following them ever since, this was made all the more special but their constant social media interaction, uploading photos and the general friendliness of the people at Kwacheetah.
I’ve been privileged to see many animals in the wild (and some in captivity) but two animals that have eluded me are the Leopard and the Cheetah, of these two cats the cheetah would be my favorite. As Kwacheetah has a program for cheetah interaction, as well as several other wild cats I’ve forever been interested in the animals that I’ve seen on their Facebook pages.
One of these animals is Yakira, a young female cheetah who unfortunately was injured as a 4 day old cub. As a cub her shoulder was crushed in a ‘freak’ accident and she has had to have vet visits and surgery to assist her in walking and living a normal cheetah life. Yakira will never be able to be released into the wild as she will never be able to fully fend for herself and possibly will never be able to live without pain, due to her injury she will also never be able to have her own litter of cubs as her week shoulder will not bear the added weight from pregnancy. One of the most amusing things about Yakira is her firendship with meerkat Zulu, she has even been taught how to sit like a meerkat!
Yakira had a vet visit today and the Kwacheetah team posted on Facebook last night that if anyone was in the area they could come by and meet her!!! Yes, you could come and meet Yakira and the team. WELL to say that I Whatsapped my friend Natalie quickly would be an understatement – I used lightening fast fingers and asked if she wanted to meet a cheetah tomorrow during our lunch break… A puzzling question which would surprise anyone but more specifically us as we work in an urban area, a short distance from a local mall.
So today we went round to the local vet to meet Yakira after her check up, we walked into the vet and waited about 10 minutes before the appointment finished, we were then ushered back into the vets office and there was the stunning specimen lying on the floor playing with a little girl. o.O My eyes nearly dropped out of my head, thankfully the little girl had to get back to school so I didn’t have to shew her out of the way! I sat down by Yakira and let me just say the rest is history, literally history… we are best mates now, I’ve been licked, nibbled, scratched her head, loved her and more. I had messaged my mom saying that she was there when we arrived and thankfully she arrived a little after us and got to ‘gootchy-goo’ the cheetah as well.
Here are some of the pictures…
Honestly the photos don’t do Yakira justice, she is fully grown at 2 1/2 years old and is hip height while walking, she has huge paws and the most stunning nature, it was inspiring and dream come true to actually meet her. Please have a look at their website and like their Facebook page, Cheetahs are more endangered than rhinos but it is less publicized – the team at KwaCheetah are amazing and are really trying to spread the word about these magnificent animals. I’ve never had a lunch break as amazing as this one – I’m not sure anything can top I played with a cheetah in my lunch break – what do you think?