Monday, September 7, 2015

DeWildt Cheetah Center

On June 24, 2010, the day after the United States’ triumph over Algeria, we drove out toward Hartbeesport to visit the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in DeWildt, which devotes itself to raising cheetah and wild dog cubs for release into the wild (or into nature conservation areas), and to raising consciousness about the need to protect these and other threatened species.  We learned about the fascinating social structure of the wild dogs, which take care of their pups and their aging population by bringing back food from every kill.

In addition to educating tourists, the center works to educate farmers about ways to avoid killing endangered predators - they raise a certain kind of guard dogs that bond with livestock and chase off cheetahs instead of farmers having to kill them to protect their livelihood.   We saw the cheetahs

 (as well as some close encounters with ostrich and male nyala).

  The final part of the tour presented the opportunity to "stroke a cheetah,"so Sam and Joe and I posed for the obligatory photo.

The purr sounded like a growl, but the animal was lying peacefully.

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