This is the 5Th time I volunteer at Cheetah Experience.
The first time I came here, I met Luna.
She is a beautiful black african leopard with a strong personality. She was a cub that played a lot with cheetahs and dogs through the fence.
The following times I came to Cheetah Experience she was still very playful on her own. She had one of the most beautiful and biggest enclosures there are.
As she got mature we couldn’t walk her anymore for enrichment. Being able to walk one of our leopards makes it easier to move them around to different enclosure. Leopards love it to investigate new place with different scents, rock, trees…
To move Luna we had to move her in a crate. They put a crate in her enclosure. First she was scared but soon enough she liked it as it was a cool place during the day.
When she fell a sleep in that crate a few days later, Duane, the only person who can still go in managed to close the open side of the crate. Now we were able to move her to another enclosure which is equal to another world for her.
She belongs on Lionside.
Ben from Belgium
Starting work here at Cheetah Experience I knew I would get to work with animals every day but what I never expected was to be able to be involved in so many veterinary procedures. I am very lucky to have been able to help with everything from DNA testing the cheetahs to X-raying the tiger. Through Sandra, Claudia and all the other veterinary professionals we have had help us I have done and learnt more than I ever thought I could.
Sedating and Xraying the tiger was one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of. I have known Fushan since he was very little and being able to see and touch him up close and help find a way to better manage his condition was a really special experience for me. It took a lot of people and a lot of organization but everyone was calm and knew their job meaning the whole thing went off without a hitch.
I could not be more thankfully to Riana and the other staff for allowing me to be a part of something as unique as that and I hope in the future I will be able to learn even more about the medical care of all the animals we have here.
I volunteered for three weeks at Cheetah Experience and I enjoyed every single day.
The work is very varied and I learned a lot about wild animals and conservation.
They are many cheetahs but also leopards, lions, a tiger, wolfs, caracals, servals and meercats.
I loved to work and spend time with them. It’s so interesting to get to know each animal cause they all have they’re own personality.
Apart from the work we can also spend a night with some of the animals.
I spend one night near the lions and wolfs camp with two other volunteers.
We could hear them roar and howl the whole night, it was an amazing experience. I could also spend three nights with Abigale, a 10 month old cheetah cub who had just had a hip operation. While I was sleeping she woke me up a couple of times just to lick my cheeks. As I opened my eyes I could see her face just in front of mine and hear her loud purring. I will never forget this special moments.
The staff members are very friendly and make you feel home. They are many volunteers working here, so I could make friends from all over the world.
On my last day we went with all staff members and volunteers to Naval hill, a hill with Nelson Mandela Statue. We watched the sunset and enjoyed the incredible view of Bloemfontein.
It’s a once in a liftime experience and I would recommend it to all animal lovers 🙂
My happy place. My sanctuary. My heart. All words I use to describe Cheetah Experience. I have volunteered at many different places in Africa but Cheetah Experience is the only one I keep going back to. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the other places. I enjoyed my time spent with them and their animals, but there is just something special about Cheetah Experience. From the moment you are picked up from the airport you feel a part of the pride and it only gets better from there. I wish I could say I didn’t have any favorites, that I love all the animals the same, but I must admit there are three that stole my heart from the first day I met them. Aurora, Faith, and Max are one of the top reasons I return to CE every year. Aurora, the crazy leopard girl, beautiful Faithy, and Max, the handsome lion boy. All the animals are phenomenal but I can’t not mention the people. It takes a special and unique person to be able to make preparing meat for the animals and cleaning the meat room fun. It takes a unique and special person to accept you for who you are and for what your limitations are as far as what situations you can be a part of while volunteering. It’s a special and amazing group of people that make you feel loved from the first day and you will find all of them at CE. I’ve volunteered three times now and plan on returning every summer that I am capable to my happy place, my sanctuary, and my heart.
Becca – Usa
Endangered Species Living in Vulnerable Conditions in Africa
Issues like global warming or climate change are not just speculation anymore. The global biodiversity of the planet has been severely affected due to the exploitation of natural resources including but not limited to mining and extraction, deforestation, and various forms of pollution. A huge number of plants, birds, and animal species have become extinct already and many are on the brink of extinction in the next few years.
For instance the fastest land mammal, Cheetah is a vulnerable species that is speeding towards extinction at a very fast pace. The prime reason for the decline in the number of Cheetah is its uncontrolled hunting during the 20th century and the successive loss of its natural habitat due to deforestation in Africa to provide land for agriculture. These farmers in an attempt to save their livestock from Cheetah often kill it, although research suggests that it does not pose much threat to domesticated animals.
Cheetah has been one of the favourite pets of the royalty of ancient Egypt and it was an accessory for hunts of the seventh-century nobility of the Middle East. Having it as a pet is a rage in the Middle East at the moment and due to its overwhelming demand, illegal pet trade is a formidable threat to the survival of Cheetah.
Curated by TuskPhoto, check out this infographic to learn about other African animal species that are highly endangered and are at the brink of extinction in the next decade.
Cheetah Experience has been the most rewarding project I had the chance to participate to.
Only two days after my arrival I had the best sleepover, three young cheetahs to cuddle over the night. I couldn’t even have imagined this in my dreams, lying down with cheetahs that are so comfortable they start purring.
Cheetah experience isn’t just about hanging out with the animals, it is about helping them having a better life by cleaning their enclosures, feeding them, exersising them or doing some enrichment so they can discover new smells or tastes which increase their natural instincts.
The most important of it all is that Cheetah Experience is education. During the tours the guides explain to visitors what we do to help them understand what conservation is and why it is that important. As a volunteer, shadowing tours helped me understand why all those animals are here and I got to know some very interesting facts about each of them.
In my opinion, wolves are fascinating, once Shakira, the alpha, has accepted you in the pack by licking your face she’ll recognize you for ever. No need to say that as the many volunteers that came here, Shakira might have the biggest wolfpack ever!
Cheetah Experience must be the only place in the world where when the lions are roaring wolves respond by howling. The lions’ roar is breathtaking, if they’re close enough you can actually feel the vibrations within your body.
You might have the chance to interact with animals but you also interact with people. The staff members are always in a good mood and friendly to you, they will always be here for you if you need any kind of help or if you don’t understand something, they’re awesome! You can witness the bond they’ve created with the animals.. which is mesmerizing. I could never thank them enough for all they taught me.
Thank you Riana to make things possible for these animals, thanks to all of the staff members. This experience will always remain in my heart.