Cheetah approaches napping photographer and lays down for a cuddle under a tree

Being in the wild requires you to be on your toes. If you aren’t careful enough, you can end up as prey to lots of wild animals.

You need to have your eyes open all the time and you have to be really aware of your environment.

Dolph C. Volker is a volunteer who spends a lot of his time exploring South Africa’s Cheetah Experience.

Source: Facebook / The Cheetah Whisperer

It’s an awesome habitat that works hard in keeping the cheetah population well maintained and preserved.

There, the cheetahs are able to live within an environment that doesn’t only keep them safe but also lets them live as if they are in their normal habitat.

In one of Dolph’s trips, he got exhausted from spending long hours under the sun. So, he decided to rest for a few minutes and nap under one of the trees.

Unexpectedly, a cheetah approached him.

Source: YouTube

Eden, the cheetah, walked up to him and sniffed him. However, instead of harming the human, she decided to cuddle and nap next to him.

Source: YouTube

When Dolph woke up, he was extremely surprised to find the cheetah next to him.

And from there, their friendship blossomed.

Source: YouTube

Eden started to treat Dolph as one of them. She would cuddle next to him and give her human lots of snuggles. She would even play with him at times.

Source: YouTube

Cheetahs are generally shy creatures. They would stay away from humans as much as possible. They don’t like humans getting into their daily lives as well.

Dolph, however, was a bit different.

Source: YouTube

As a photographer and a volunteer in the habitat, he was extremely patient in working hard to get the trust and confidence of the cheetahs.

Dolph’s patience and dedication are commendable.

As cheetahs are endangered, the habitat couldn’t afford to have someone causing the species harm. The world couldn’t either.

In the last couple of years, the big cats’ number declined by a huge percentage, making them one of today’s endangered species.

And as years go by, they continue to come close to extinction, particularly in Asia where there are only less than 50 individuals.

The main reason why their numbers decline is humans. As the majority of cheetahs’ habitat is converted into managed lands, they have less and less areas to live in.

Plus, there are also people killing the big cats, thinking that they can turn them into domesticated animals.

This is why habitats, like the one Dolph volunteers for, can make a huge difference in the lives of those vulnerable cheetahs.

They serve as homes that provide the animals with the food they need to survive. And with proper medical care and attention, these habitats may even help increase the number of cheetahs today.

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