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Meet the Cheetahs: The Wild Ones

WRITTEN BY // Annami Grabe CATEGORIES // Meet the Cheetahs

The Gang

Meet the Cheetahs: The Wild Ones

These five cheetahs call the cheetah facility their home for now, but they too will one day be able to live the cheetah dream and feel the free wind brushing through their fur as they make their first kill. Every night they get the chance to let all their energy out and run after the lure during cheetah runs. If you think they cannot understand you, think again. Once the words “ready for countdown” are spoken over the radio all five cheetahs are on their feet, with their eyes set on you. When the countdown starts, they know it’s time to run even before the lure exits the tube. Cheetah runs are not only done for the cats’ enjoyment, it is also training for hunting in the future.

The Voice

If you find yourself working the cheetah run and feeling lonely, don’t fear: The Voice is near. He can be seen as our personal therapist that listens to you when you talk and talks back when help is needed. Some people might think we’re crazy when they hear that we are having conversations with him. He is a beautiful boy and by talking to his fellow cheetahs he has established alpha rank. Since I came to Inverdoorn, this talking cheetah has never run for his dinner. Some may say he is lazy, but I guess being the leader means you can delegate all duties, even making the rest run for the guests so that he can get his dinner first.


Identifying this male between the other cheetahs is no problem. You will be able to see him from a distance. His scars on his face tell many unspoken stories. Scarface can mostly be seen in the shadows of the others, but don’t think he will stand back from his dinner or, if he feels like it, a beautiful run after the lure into the sunset.


Walking towards us, this male might be mistaken for a female. His slender build and, yes, a floppy stomach, gives his name away. Floppy, most likely second in rank, is definitely not held back by his stomach when chasing down the track after the lure.

Femme and Eve

These two ladies are living an out-of-the-ordinary life, because they are not solitary as is expected from female cheetahs. They enjoy life as part of the male coalition. Do not for one moment think they will stand back for the males – they have earned their place in the hierarchy. They love to run after the lure and are always the first cats to be ready. Eve has her regular spot during cheetah runs, where she makes herself comfortable while waiting to hear the familiar words, “ready for countdown”. Femme will move between the lure and the feeding car, trying to decide which one to choose, and most of the time the lure is the lucky winner.

About the author

Annami Grabe

Annami Grabe

Annami Grabe was born in South Africa. She studied conservation ecology and is currently working as a volunteer at the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation.

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Inverdoorn Game Reserve



Tel:  +27 (0)214 344 639
Fax: +27 (0)214 331 157


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  • Meeting the Volunteers: Mélissa Boursier

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    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...

  • Meeting the Volunteers: Annami Grabe

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    Something I loved about meeting the volunteers and talking to them was the way they carefully contemplated each question I put forward to them – and none more so than Annami, a local...

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Tel:  +27 (0)214 344 639
Fax: +27 (0)214 331 157


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