VISIT TO GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
When the ship docked at V&A waterfront in Cape town, I was absolutely sure of one thing that I so desperately wanted to do there. Getting up close with the wild. Isn’t that what we all imagine Africa to be like: God’s Own Country. Everything is so serene and surreal here. However, I know a lot of people in the world who would differ with this idea. The continent has seen so much death and chaos. Otherwise struggling with the horrendous water scarcity agenda till date and in the foreseeable future; the intimidating beauty of the nature in South Africa casted an illusion for me. And the very first day in Cape Town, I found myself going for the Cheetah Outreach Project field program where I will get to pet a Cheetah, of course if the cat is willing, and also learn about the dangers that face them. I was in bliss.
I love animals! Sometimes I feel I love them more than humans. But I’m probably not heroic enough to do something about it. But what I was doing now was a step closer to it and that made me feel pride. Isn’t awareness the key to sustainability?
After all ethical animal tourism can help conserve endangered wild animals.
And I also felt that it maybe able to help me with part guilt-part rage of humans being the major threat to this majestic species.
It came in a van.
There was a white lady who came along,
And a black man
They were caressing him.
Man! they have some guts.
Refusing to come out of the van,
The cat sat there…
For twenty minutes,
And all of us standing, in a semi-circle around.
I was taking pictures, unstoppable;
standing, sitting, turning, going around.
And then it descended, as if a king from its throne.
Just looking at it gave me an orgasm
Knowing that Cheetahs are not a threat to humans, the very fact that I will be touching a wild cat was bewitching. One by one as other SASers made their way to get their picture clicked with the cat, I stood there in awe waiting for my turn until it finally came.
After interacting with a Cheetah up close, we went to meet a pack of brave Turkish Anatolian shepherd dogs. They are bred and then sent to various local farms to help protect Cheetahs from the irate farmers, who has just lost their livestock to predators.
The magical act of having touched a wild cat was ticking off an item from my bucket list activity for me. And today more than 2 years later, I still remember the look of his eyes: big golden-ish brown, staring right into mine, when my hand caressed his soft and furry skin.
What steps are you taking to help conserve Wildlife?
I would love to know about it.
Or If you have come as close to a wild cat species or have pet one before, do let me know in the comments below.
To see where I went for the Cheetah Outreach program, Click here.