A new email friend and a long-time supporter of Harnas, Regina from Austria, (who somehow found my blog!) asked me about Goeters, so I thought I'd write about him this morning.
Goeters is the oldest cheetah on Harnas--and maybe in the world. As I mentioned once before, in the wild cheetahs don't live very long, 3-5 years. But Goeters is, by Schalk's estimate, about 23 years old.
He came to Harnas when he was about a year old, rescued from the side of the road. Marieta rehabilitated him and then tried to put him in with other cheetahs, but he just stood at the fence and cried for his human companions. Finally the vet said to take him out and make him one of the family. So for years and years, Goeters has lived in the garden area and acted pretty much like a tame dog.
Anyone could pet him--family, volunteers, guests--and his purr is legendary. You can hear it most of the time before you see him. It's deep and gravel-ly and soothing. Everyone adores him.
But after many years, he showed signs of old age just this past year. It looked like he might not make it. Good vets and regular meds, though, healed him once again. But he still seemed frail. Then Marieta and her team had an idea. They tried once again to put him with other cheetahs, this time a small group of young females.
What do you know? Goeters perked right up! It seems all he needed was the adoration of younger women. In fact, something amazing happened: one of the females actually ended up pregnant! Unfortunately the babies were born premature and didn't survive, but who knew the old guy had it in him?!?
He lives still with three females--Pride, Cleopatra, and Dumas--and seems very happy and healthy. He still gets his daily meds--which he probably needs to keep up with the girls.
I'll attach a video of me with Goeters just this morning. He seemed a bit camera-shy, so I'm also including a close-up still photo. You can see he's a handsome devil.