Would you approach a wild animal? A cheetah maybe? Well, you may not want to get any near a wild cat, but guess what… Wild cats would love to nap by your side!
That’s exactly what happened to Dolph Volker. He is a volunteer at the Cheetah Experience in South Africa. It’s a non-profit organization that takes care of endangered and threatened species.
They have cheetahs, leopards, male non-breeding lions, servals, caracals, African wildcats, wolves, meerkats, and a Siberian tiger.
Wild animals don’t usually let you enter their kingdom, and they live in the most beautiful places, surrounded with breathtaking landscapes. They are strong, clever, beautiful and gracious.
That’s what helped Volker get over the death of his dog. The wildlife photographer and zoologist changed his mindset. He turned his grief into a fight for animal rights.
Today, Volker tries to raise awareness of endangered species. He uses his vacation days and personal savings to help at the Cheetah Experience.
Cheetahs are shy, and he had to gain their trust first. It took him months to achieve that, and the effort paid off.
One day, Volker was napping under a tree. It was hot, and he had spent most of the day working in the sun. One of the cheetahs, Eden, spotted him. The big cat walked up to him, and asked for a cuddle! Simple as that!
Volker couldn’t find words to describe the incredible experience. This nap was actually the beginning of their friendship. It means that Volker was “one of them.” Eden enjoys cuddling with Volker. She nibbles him and even purrs like a kitty.
Cheetahs are really interactive and affectionate. They love to groom and nibble. If you want to become one of them, you will have to let them do that. It may hurt and your face and arms may bleed, but Volker didn’t mind any of that. He wanted to be friends with Eden.
The photographer enjoys spending his free time with his new friends. His friends, family and colleagues call him “The Cheetah Whisperer.”
Watch the video below to learn more about this incredible encounter. Volker and Eden are great friends, and it’s the most adorable thing you will see these days.