Banner newborn Rhino

English Afrikaans Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French German Italian Japanese Portuguese Russian Spanish

A Cheetah is a Girl's Best Friend

WRITTEN BY // Claudia Hauter CATEGORIES // Capecheetah-blog | Inverdoorn-blog

Western Cape Cheetah Conservation

A Cheetah is a Girl's Best Friend

Immanuel Kant said that "we can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals". In this case it is the heart of a woman. Leah Brousse is a French-born, German girl living in South Africa. She has been working at Inverdoorn for just over a month and her passion for what she does is evident in every word and every smile. She is a resident cheetah handler at the game reserve and, without hesitation, will tell you that what she loves most about working with them is "everything".

Her day involves feeding, cleaning and walking the cheetahs. She works with all the tame cheetahs and is getting involved with the wild ones too, some of which may soon be released into the main part of the reserve. There is no end to the work that she has to do, but she is visibly excited about every aspect of it. "Cheetahs, and animals in general, can't fake emotions. People pretend, but if a cheetah is angry it will klap you."

The cheetahs go on daily runs. Leah is often on hand to assist with these too, as well as training to let Iziba off the leash. She has a devout attachment to Inverdoorn's youngest cheetah and the two are fast friends. Iziba is a mischievous and playful girl. She delights in pouncing on her handlers when their guard is down. Leah has caught onto this trick very quickly, garnering respect from the teenage cheetah. "Iziba has a strong personality; she's naughty, but smart."

Velvet, on the other hand, is one of the softest and sweetest girls anyone will meet at Inverdoorn. She is a tame cheetah with a deep affection for her handlers. When she sees Leah in the mornings she will run up to her and into her arms. She loves cuddling and kissing and anyone who has met her will testify to her warm nature and contented purring.

Inverdoorn is renowned for its cheetah rehabilitation centre, with its specialised breeding programmes. Leah is involved here too and is really excited about the idea of cheetah cubs in June. At the moment there is no way of knowing whether or not the female currently paired with the breeding male is pregnant, particularly because the females do not pick up weight if they are, but the hope is evident in Leah's face.

Female cheetahs can give birth to a litter of anywhere from one to nine cubs. In the event that the female should have only one cheetah, Leah feels it would be best to let the cub stay with its mother. In the happy event of a big litter some of the cubs will stay with the mother, while a few will be tamed – becoming ambassadors for the cheetah centre and helping raise awareness about their plight.

There are now four tame cheetahs at the reserve. Shady and Joti were previously tame, but have been released into the breeding camp. Brother and sister Banzi and Nushka are the other two tame cheetahs. Nushka is a shy girl, while Banzi is quite a temperamental boy and needs time and space to develop trust with his handlers.

The cheetahs, and the other animals too, all have distinct personalities and are special to staff and guests alike. However, it is important to remember that they are still wild animals and this will never change – even dogs will bite and cats will scratch. This is why Inverdoorn wants their animals to roam free. Their primary concern is rescuing animals and protecting them, while giving them the best living experience possible. But the world has changed and the environment degraded to the extent that humanity is forced to control the environment in order to protect and save animals. The human population has done so much to destroy animals and their homes that it is now up to everyone to fix humanity's mess and those it has hurt in the process.




About the author

Claudia Hauter

Claudia Hauter

Taught from a young age to save the planet and driven by a love of the environment, Claudia Hauter now writes and manages social media for Inverdoorn Game Reserve, Western Cape Cheetah Conservation and RhinoProtect – hoping to do her part in saving this little planet we call home.

Reservations & Info

Inverdoorn Game Reserve


112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 71 50


Meet The Team

  • Meeting the Volunteers: Kirsty Woodhead

    Meeting the Volunteers: Kirsty Woodhead

    Before meeting Kirsty Woodhead, I knew that she had South African roots and was curious to hear her accent. Having moved to Canada at a young age, she has lost her accent and laments this...

  • Meeting the Volunteers: Mélissa Boursier

    Meeting the Volunteers: Mélissa Boursier

    The conservation of cheetahs at Inverdoorn is giving Mélissa Boursier plenty of material for her doctoral thesis in veterinary sciences. She is in the fourth year of her studies at...

  • Meet the Team: Carmia

    Meet the Team: Carmia

    Meet the unsung heroes of the Inverdoorn family, our members of the reservations team. Without a doubt, these ladies work tirelessly to ensure that all guests visiting Inverdoorn Game...

Keep up to Date

For all the latest news about your favourite animals at Inverdoorn like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest news and blog posts about the cheetahs, the rhinos, the lions and all the other animals that live on the reserve. Read about the people who look after them and have dedicated their lives to wildlife and its conservation.

Share Your View

Did you enjoy your trip to Inverdoorn? Submit a review to Trip Advisor or send us a review via our website. We want to hear all about your trip: what you liked, what you saw, the best parts and any suggestions and ideas for how we can improve the experience for YOU are also welcome. You can read what others have said about us by checking out some of the articles and press releases or chat to other guests on Trip Advisor. You can even join our Inverdoorn Community and stay in touch with our rangers, animal handlers and other guests.

Contact Infos

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 7150


footer map inverdoorn