Crazy about Cheetahs
Kamanyab, Outjo, Namibia, 2009-11-03 12:00 by Laerke
A couple of hours from Etosha National Park the Nel Family has a huge farm and years back they caught some cheetahs who very poaching on their livestock. They wanted to release the cheetahs into Etosha National Park, but the government wouldn’t allow it. The Nels released the cheetahs back in the wild, but kept a litter of pubs that were born while in captivity. Since then the family have taken in injured cheetahs and they try to buy cheetahs off other farmers who trap them, but it is hard as game farms where you can shoot the game offer 10 times the price the Nels can afford.
They now have a few tame cheetahs by their house and some huge enclosures out in the bush where they keep the wild ones, they encourage visitors to come in the hopes of increasing awareness of the plight of these wild animals.
We of course had to see this and we were not disappointed! First we were taken to their garden, and under the blossoming jacaranda trees were 3 cheetahs; 2 adults and a young one. The little one was racing around playing and we could pet all of them, one of the adults started licking my leg – its tongue was so coarse it almost hurt, but what an amazing experience to have such a beautiful animal so close to me! In the end it found me pretty tasty apparently and would like a little taste… But it didn’t really bite and I quickly got away! Cheetahs are not just big house cats :-)

After lots of petting they fed the 3 cheetahs, a big lump of raw meat to each.

Then it was time for a break in their bush bar, we had a few drinks and chatted to some of the other travelers, amongst others there was an overland truck with lots of lively people!
Around sunset everybody piled up the back of the pick-up trucks and drove out into the bush and into the enclosures with buckets full of raw meat. The mood in the back of our truck was high as we saw the first cheetah, and then another one and another one. It was an incredible sight to see them approaching through the high grass, and these were definitely wild – they were growling and hissing and generally looking quite mean! A few of them also made some pretty cute kitty purrs though. Soon the meat was thrown to them and a feeding frenzy broke out!
What a day and what amazing and beautiful animals!