Animals Gone

Alan and Heathcliff

Looking at this picture, it is a guy stroking a cheetahs. Wow! Lucky person. Yes lucky person because the chance to seeing a cheetah in the wild is getting very slim. Getting to stroke a cheetah, even slimmer.

Two reasons, there is a growing concern about raising predators in captivity. Which I disagree with because zoos will be the last refuge for wildlife. The rate of decline in our wildlife has gone beyond alarming. It is now frightening. And although there are many people out there doing their hardest to protect them, it’s like telling the oceans to stop their tidal movement.

Predator breeding has got a bad name, especially lions, with many being bred for “canned hunting”. And I agree wholeheartedly with it. Why would people want to shoot a magnificent animal to hand on their wall or lay on their floor. What do they tell people, how brave they were, how clever? Lion breeding in captivity has to be controlled, but depending on which country you live in, controlled has many meanings.

As for other predators. I have worked with cheetahs for over 30 years, all captive situations. There is a small chance in the future that cheetahs will be released back into the wild under very controlled conditions.

As for stroking hand raised cheetahs. Cheetahs are the most difficult big cat to breed in captivity. First time mothers are not sure what to do and the cubs have to be removed for their own safety. Then you get a hand raised cheetah that people can interact with. I totally disagree with the way some interactions occur. A cheetah on a harness is one. But cheetah enjoy the company of humans. I have two, two year old cheetahs as part of the collection.

They have a large, bushed, natural enclosure, yet my greatest joy is i the morning when doing my rounds I can go itno their enclosure and call them. The quite happily come up to me from wherever they were, with a very loud purr. They are as happy to see me as I them.

When they have said hello or sat with me for a while, they wander off to do what cheetahs do naturally!! Their choice, visit and say hello or remain where they are comfortable. Cheetahs enjoy human company, they have for thousands of years, Although the reasons kept then are a bit different from now.

It will be the same for many other predators. Not breeding them in captivity is sentencing them to a quicker decline. Hopefully in the near future governments will sit up and realize they have to set aside protected areas for wildlife. But is is getting to the stage where action now will be too late. Too late to see a cheetah in the wild, or a leopard, or a wild cat. The list is endless but the species are not

Alan and Big Girl