This cheetah left a man scared for his life when he realized it has been watching him sleep. But what the wild animal did to the naturalist was shocking.
Humanity has always found wild animals to be fascinating. In fact, in 750 BC, ferrets were domesticated, and ancient Egyptians had leopards as pets. In modern times, red foxes are more common as pets. But what about a cheetah? One man considered it. The naturalist loved the idea. But then he dozed off out in the field near the cheetah’s vicinity. All of a sudden, the caregiver found himself stalked and his very survival was in jeopardy.
Dolph C. Volker was a qualified zoologist, but everyone thought he was insane. But they never imagined his love for exotic animals would get him this close to one. A couple of years ago, Dolph went to South Africa to visit a cheetah sanctuary, which dedicates itself to healing and saving cheetahs who are on the endangered species list. And it was at the sanctuary that something shocking happened, and the event was life-altering for Dolph.
Cheetahs are endangered because they’ve lost most of their habitat. There are currently only 9,000 still alive in Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to save this species, people are joining forces to help these creatures out, and Dolph C. Volker is among them. He became part of the Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein, South Africa, but no one imagined how one cheetah would react to Dolph as he slept in its turf.
Dolph tried to keep a respectable distance from the cheetah and interacted with the creature through a fence in the sanctuary. Eventually, he got a bit too comfortable and demanded to be allowed to get even closer to the cheetah. So, he started to touch the animal through the fence. He also allowed the beast to lick his face. But then, something horrifying occurred that would affect their bond.
Dolph had allowed the cheetah to groom him, which is a vital process in order to form a deeper bond. Unfortunately, the cheetah’s tongue is hairy, and these hairs are very sharp, because they allow the creature to eat its prey easier. The tongue’s barb-like hairs also help detangle hair when these cheetahs groom each other. But when the cheetah licked Dolph’s face, he started bleeding, and when it tasted his blood, everything changed.
Dolph was fortunate because the fence separated him from the Cheetah, but the experience was painfully difficult. This forced him to return to the United States. But a year later, Dolph paid a visit to the cheetah sanctuary again. Unfortunately, this is when things got more complicated. You see, it had been too long since the cheetah had seen him, and he had no way of knowing how it would behave. But when it did react, its behavior stunned him.
Dolph pushed his luck by returning to the sanctuary because he wanted to be reunited with the cheetah he befriended. People warned him against meeting the creature face to face, but he didn’t listen. He entered the domain of the animal. Then, he turned his back to it, which was a serious mistake. As soon as the cheetah noticed what he’d done, the hunter began to stalk its prey. At this point, Dolph realized his life was in serious danger.
Dolph turned right on time, and when he did, the cheetah recognized him right away. So, instead of meeting a horrible end, the cheetah said hello to its human friend by licking him. It seemed like the animal only wanted to greet him, which was fortunate for Dolph. But he knew things could have taken a bad turn since cheetahs are wild animals. Unfortunately, things got creepier when Dolph dozed off inside the Cheetah’s habitat.
Since barely escaping with his life the first time, Dolph had gotten a little more confident. But people still had to remind him not to underestimate the cheetah. After all, this wasn’t a tiny cat. It was a large predatory creature. But Dolph didn’t care. He felt comfortable with the bond he formed with it. This stressed the cheetah sanctuary workers a great deal. Dolph was coming and going into the cage. Then, one day, he fell asleep.
It was an extremely warm South African summer afternoon when Dolph paid the cheetah a visit. Temperatures were in the mid 90s, which made it difficult to keep his eyes opened. So, Dolph found a nice shade under a tree and relaxed, but then he accidentally fell asleep. When the cheetah noticed this, it started stalking him. This meant that Dolph’s life was about to take a serious life-altering turn.
When Dolph woke up, he was shocked. The cheetah was purring as it curled up by his side. Usually, a cheetah only purrs if it’s happy. So, when Dolph heard the purr, he was very relieved. This experience proved that the cheetah really did love him. It could have attacked him, but it ignored its natural instinct and decided to curl up next to him like a domestic cat. This touched Dolph, and what happened next was amazing.
Dolph had built a strong bond with the male cheetah called Gabriel and it’s easy to understand why. Dolph had cared for the creature since he was a cub. So, after the recent heartwarming experience, it made sense that Dolph would buy Gabriel, which would allow him to visit the cheetah whenever he felt like it. But Dolph’s plans were even bigger than a simple adoption. He had huge plans in mind for Gabriel.
Dolph plans to move to South Africa permanently so that he can look after Gabriel. But he also wants to pursue another dream. Dolph’s want to start up his very own conservation breeding plan for Cheetahs. “I want to improve the breeding, rewilding and release process of captive bred cheetahs.” Dolph is convinced he can save the cheetah population starting with his own enclosure and with Gabriel by his side.
Dolph has really come a long way since he started out as a volunteer. He never imagined that one animal could have such a profound influence on him. He has since documented his encounters and posted them on social media. With Dolph’s help, people have fallen in love with cheetahs, and they no longer see them as predators worth fearing. In fact, people are more aware of the plight these creatures face, and it’s all thanks to the work of Dolph C. Volker.
Dolph has created an ongoing legacy with his breeding program. Meanwhile, he continues to post on social media to let his followers know how he and Gabe are doing. As the number of followers continues to grow, the conservation project will undoubtedly gain more support. And, with the help of others like Dolph, endangered animals have a fighting chance. The cheetah population will continue to thrive in this world so long as Dolph and his legacy continue.