Good Morning Cheetah Nice to Meetcha


My girlfriend and I went for an early morning at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. It was before eight in the morning, and the waking sounds of the animals greeted us upon arrival. Our destination was to get to the bird house to meet some other photographers for a meetup.

Walking along the chain link fence, we passed a wall of bamboo that separated two pens. Immediately after the bamboo wall we looked into the pen and there was a cheetah. Not just a cheetah in the pen, but a cheetah right at the fence in the pen. We were standing less than five feet away from Mr. Cheetah.

Well, good morning Mr. Cheetah! So nice to Meetcha! He looked at us, we looked at him. He sort of sighed as if saying “Darn..stupid tourists. I thought I had this place to myself.” “Well…are you going to move?” The Mexican standoff began. We didn’t move a muscle. Mr. Cheetah didn’t move a muscle. Finally he gave up on waiting for us to leave and quietly turned and walked away.

What an awesome experience. To be so close to a wild cat but yet to survive to tell the tale. Meow ! Now if he’d only let me pet him.


22 replies »

    • It’s one of those things that I think good and bad. Indeed they would be happier in nature. But they are safe and secure with regular health care and feedings. The National Zoo is instrumental in conservation with species and maintaining rare DNA lines. so a necessary thing after all. 🙂

  1. They’ve long been one of my favorites of the big cats. I actually did get to pet one several years ago in Namibia. It was amazing and a bit nerve wracking, but exciting! They’re so graceful and rather elegant. Ironic how we see them when in the wild they’re often bullied being the slimmer, smaller of the cats compared to say Lions.

    Thanks for these beautiful images.

      • I spent a week or so at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia many years ago. It was an incredible experience. We got to feed the, pet one that the founder of the place was raising after rescuing her. Laurie Marker is her name and she does great work trying to educate people on how to protect their livestock without also harming the Cheetahs, including knowing the difference between Jaguar tracks & those of Cheetahs. They also take in rescues, abandoned cubs, trapped Cheetahs, injured, etc. Quite the organization.

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