There are 14 cheetahs in total at Cape Cheetah [based at Inverdoorn Game Reserve], all of whom play different roles in the contribution towards the success and conservation of the cheetah species. The only way to describe these magnificent creatures is by using human characteristics that we can relate to. While reading, keep reminding yourself that the cats I am describing are born wild, and no matter what, we can never extinguish the “wild fire” burning in their hearts.
These two very special cats creep right into your heart from the first moment you meet them. They are our two tame cheetahs. They have a very special home at Inverdoorn, right in our “back garden”. Velvet, now four years of age, was rescued from a breeding facility in the Free State with her two brothers and so-called stepbrother when they were four weeks old. After putting up a fight, and the sad death of their youngest brother, Velvet, Shady and Joti were rescued by Cape Cheetah. Velvet will unfortunately never be able to run free on the plains of the Karoo as her tail was broken and cannot fulfil its very important function as navigator and brake while running and hunting. Velvet, who is calmness personified, does interactions with guests, and she just loves all the attention and the cuddles.
Iziba, on the other hand, is a different story. She is now two years old, but we hope she will never grow up. She is our sweet, innocent and oh-so-naughty child. Paying close attention to her facial expressions and body language you will be able to predict Izi’s moment of playfulness. Iziba still needs proper training but hopefully, not too long from now, she too will have the opportunity to be a free cat. Both Iziba and Velvet get enough exercise and stimulation with long walks at the dam, going to the playground or running after the car next to the dam.