Sunday, 4 November 2012

Cheetah Walk

Today started the same as yesterday, cleaning out the enclosures and playing with the cubs. Both my shifts today were on Touch-a-cub, where members of the public are able to enter the enclosures, stroke the cubs and take photos with them. Our role is to explain the rules to visitors, and ensure that both the public and the cubs are safe. Through watching and helping the visitors, my own confidence in interacting with the cubs has improved, although I'm still nervous around Chloe after yesterday.

In the afternoon, the volunteers all went on a "Cheetah Walk". We were driven over to the cheetah enclosure  where two of the adult cheetahs live - not the same ones who jumped on someone's car - and went into the enclosure to play with them. It was a little nerve-wracking, as the animals we have interacted with so far have been cubs, whereas the cheetahs are fully grown. However, they were completely friendly, allowing us to approach the, from all angles, stroke them and take photos as if they were domestic pets, not wild animals. Whilst we were there, one of the tourist safari drives came to take one of the cheetahs for a walk; a member of staff took the cheetah onto the safari truck with the customers and they drove to the other side of the park away from other animals to walk the cheetah. 
 On the way back to camp we drove past the enclosure of the larger lions - not the prides in the camps, but the lions who have recently left Cubworld, aged 8 months and up.Until now, I did not realise how many lions there were at the park. Within these enclosures, white lions and brown lions are mixed together, unlike the lion camps where the prides are kept separate.

The evening was spent looking at the photos of another volunteer, Ruth, who spent another four weeks volunteering at a wildlife project in Limpopo before coming to the Lion Park, and had plenty of photos of other animals, including a baby hippo, which fuelled our desire to go on safari next week.

I also managed to reveal my newbie status in camp when I said that there was a giraffe right outside the tent.  Apparently the other side of the fence 10m away does not count as "right outside" - it only gets exciting when they're inside the fence, apparently. 

Fortunately the weather is getting warmer now - today was the first day I did not need a jumper, which was a relief as I have exhausted my winter wardrobe options already, and still have 12 days left!

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