Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cheetah gems

I visited the two cheetah that reside at Auckland Zoo.  They are not disdainful of human admirers, more indifferent to them.  Lions might be called regal and tigers majestic; cheetahs are something else, something lighter but very special. They are lithe and muscular, focused and dainty.  As we walked through the near empty zoo, they were alert but relaxed.  A feral chook came just a little too close, a burst of action nearly saw the end of that bird, Anubis only slowed  at little by the woman on the other end of his lead.  Only male cheetah are selected to be 'ambassadors' to have such close interaction with members of the public.  This is becasue they are even-tempered, apparently the females get irritable and unpredictable at certain times of the month.  We accompained the chhetah back to their encloseure wherer they had breakfast of bunnies and bit of wild, culled horse.

cheetah magic

My husband and son bought me a cheetah experience for Christmas, but it wasn't until the 11th of July that I could use it. Worth the wait!  I got to the Auckland Zoo early, the time with the cheetah starts at 8.00am and lasts for 1 1/2 hours so that we had the zoo practically to ourselves.  There was one other person, a young woman on the tour with me, four zoo staff and 2 cheetah.  Anubis and Osiris are twins, orphaned early and have spent all their lives in zoos.  They led us around the zoo grounds, into the elephant enclosure (Burma wasn't out of bed at the time), to look out at the skateboarders and geese in Western Springs, to look at the traffic along Motions Road, through the Vetinerary Dept, past the NZ birds free flight area and back to their enclosure.  Although they were on leads, Anubis and Osiris were in charge of where we went.  They have mastered the 1000 metre stare, looking into the distance, sometimes right over my shoulder.  They leapt up onto rocks and tables ti improve their view, but also to allow us to stoke them.  One of them has a short mohawk sort of mane, the other has more belly fur.  The large dark brown spots and interspersed with smaller lighter spots.  Their toenails don't retract, they look a bit like dogs' nails (very sturdy).  Their ears are expressive whilst the rest of their face remains still.  Their eyes are dark brown with a round pupil (unlike night-hunting cats with a slit pupil)