Petting a cheetah in Africa with Mukuni Big 5 Safaris is one of the most unique things that I have done in my travels around the world.
I have had an affinity towards the majestic animal since I was young. It has always been a very unusual connection as I was always one of the fastest kids on the field when I played soccer. For some reason I always connected with the unique felines.
I earned the nickname cheetah because I was so quick to attack an opponent on the field.
Speed, reaction time, and bursts of aggression where all reasons for the relation to the animal. A bit childish maybe but I have always thought that they were so unique and majestic.
When I first arrived in Zambia and a visit to the Devil’s Pool was unavailable, I immediately wanted to find out about interacting with cheetahs.
It wasn’t just walking with a cheetah they offer. It was also walking with lions and elephants as well.
The company is on a mission to actively support the dying cheetah population. They have announced a captive breeding program to ensure that the population of cheetahs in the wild continues to grow.
After raising the cubs they are released into the wild.
This program is something I can definitely support because it is reported that cheetahs have significant population challenges. Everything from lack of genetic diversity, habitat encroachment, and poaching has created significant threats to the cheetah population.
The dilemma with the cheetah populace began with a population crash that occurred almost 10,000 years ago. The exact reason for the crash is still speculatory. The crash set forth a genetic diversity crisis where each animal is extremely similar to the other.
Genetic diversity is critical to the survival of a species for a variety of reasons.
Many of the cheetah cubs have a number of problems when they are born which is another reason a company like the Mukuni Big 5 Safaris should be appreciated. They take extra care with all of their cubs to ensure they are raised with the best of health and then release them into the wild.
The Mukuni Big 5 Safari company was nice enough to give me both the cheetah walk and the lion walk free of charge which I can’t thank them enough for. Having been to roughly 40 or 50 countries now as I travel around the world, it is one of my most treasured experiences that I will remember forever.
Cheetahs pur it seems like 100 times loader than cats and are gorgeous creatures. They are more solitary in comparison with the very social lion but they were still nice enough to give me a nice cut on my forearm. When they show affection they will lick anything in their path, similar to cats.
Their tongues are not soft, they feel like razor sharp sand paper that you buy at home depot. I tried many times to get a picture of a cheetah licking my cheek but unfortunately I couldn’t stand the pain due to the roughness their tongues.
The time spent with these creatures are so unique that it felt as if I was in their midst for hours. The hop for cubs sprung eternal but sadly I was only able to spend an unlimited amount of time with 3 cheetahs all alone.
What a miserable experience (kidding)
Because they are currently being bread in captivity they are very used to humans and are very affectionate. Everyone at the Mukuni Big 5 Safari company takes extra care with these animals and its very satisfying to see a company think about the livelihood of these animals first.
It was great to see the cheetahs interact with each other. I learned these animals are extremely playful after we started to run with a tethered ball around the park.
The Mukuni Big 5 safari company has also started a new out to the new volunteer program at their facilities in Livingstone, Zambia.
Thank you again Cliff for the unique opportunity.