For those of you who have read my blog before, you know the story of the cheetah Pride, but I'll summarize here before I give an update.
Pride was a cub 10 years ago when I came as a volunteer. She was the full grown cat, a year later, with whom I spent the night out in her enclosure--the most magical night of my life--and the reason I have a tattoo of a cheetah paw on the inner side of my right wrist. It's to remind of that night, and remind me that no matter what happens in my life, I've had that experience, and it's more than anyone deserves.
Once she grew up--hand fed--Pride was moved to the Lifeline Project, an 18-square-miles area where she could live a life in the sort-of-wild, hunting her own food and surviving on her own, closely monitored with a radio collar. She's been amazing there, killing a springbok one minutes and then purring and coming to caretakers who want to check her health. She had one litter of two and when died, adopted a third orphan. Recently, she had a new litter of cubs--three--and has been back here at the main house in an enclosure while her cubs grow to the size where they feel they can have a shot at surviving in the Lifeline.
A few months ago, Harnas resuced a cheetah cub about the same age, a wild female that got named Desert, because that's where they found her. When Pride's cub Nick got bit by a spitting cobra (as bad as it sounds) and had to be removed, the put Nick in with Desert during recovery. They bonded, and so when Nick went back to Pride and her other two cubs, Desert went too. At first there was some hissing, but eventually all was settled in Cheetah Land, and now Pride is caring for her own three and one adopted cub. She's amazing.
I go to visit her as often as I can. The cubs are wild and will hiss at me if I get closer than a yard or two, but Pride still comes to me and purrs, and lets me put my arms around her. She's a special cat. Here she is with her four babies.
Okay, I've tried for half and hour to upload one photo of Pride and her cubs. Can't do it. Internet isn't worth a damn here. Of course we're out in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, so . . . .
Picture a big girl cheetah and four half as big babies. There you have it. We'll try another day.