Getting His Goat (Adventures in Cheetah Conservation)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Wildlife photographer Hal Brindley recounts the heart-pounding adventures of his final day as a cheetah tracker in South Africa.

Submitted: November 26, 2010

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Submitted: November 26, 2010

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Getting His Goat
by Hal Brindley
He is pushing his head against my leg and I am holding it down with all my strength. The truck is going dangerously fast but we'll never make it. I have his face covered with a jacket yet I catch a glimpse of an inch-long fang glowing in the gathering darkness. I can't hold him any more.This is crazy.How did I get here?
(Earlier this morning)
Cristina and I leave the house much later than usual. We are quiet and gloomy. She hardly acknowledges my presence. It is our last full day at the reserve in South Africa and we are going out to track the cheetahs for the final time.
But they are nowhere to be found. They have vanished without a trace. We start from their last known location in the southwest corner and drive outward in random directions. Nothing. Not a single blip on the receiver. This seems a fitting end, them disappearing the day before we do. Though it is likely that only Scar is gone. He is the one wearing the radio collar and he is the one that repeatedly crosses the fence. Poor little Kalahari usually sits inside with a panic-stricken look, yelping and pacing, waiting anxiously for his return.
But we will never know. We drive for hours and never hear a thing.
We are about to give up when I pick up a very faint signal from far in the south. I've probably imagined it. My mind inserts exactly what it wants to hear into the loud static.
It is mid-day and we are sad, exhausted and worried.
We don't want to leave this place and have to say to the reserve manager, \"Sorry Drik, the cheetahs are gone. We don't know where they went, have a nice life, here’s your receiver!”
Though it's not Drik we're worried about. What will be the fate of these cats?
I'm standing on top of the truck’s new roof platform, turning in slow circles. I can't seem to give up. The truck is parked at the top of a high hill in the center of the reserve. The freezing cold morning has given way to a warm mid-winter sun. I hold the antenna as high as I can with my right hand and the receiver in my left, close to my ear with the volume as high as it will go. The static stings my eardrums but there is nothing. They are gone.
I sigh heavily and lower my aching arms.
I call Cristina up to the platform. She is hesitant to climb onto my new contraption but she survives the ascent.
We both lay down on the fresh plywood. As the sun warms us, our coldness toward each other begins to melt and we talk and smile for the first time in days.
We decide there is nothing we can do. This is how it must end. An annoying digital song plays in my pocket and I know it is Drik checking up on us. His house is visible in the distance on another hilltop.
We tell him we can't find them but he doesn't sound too worried. I think he has written us off and in his mind we are already gone and irrelevant.
So we drive home and focus on something more positive; a lunch of fried-egg and french-fry sandwich. (It's far more delicious than it sounds.)
My phone rings again. It is Leon, the lonely security guy, asking if he could take us to see a recent kill he found. Cristina is making her high eyebrows and shaking her head slightly. She clearly does not want to participate in a social outing. I tell him we're about to make lunch and he says he'll call afterward.
\"We should go. I feel sorry for the poor guy,\" I say to Cristina. We've put off every attempt he has made to engage us. She makes a whining, growling sound, not unlike an angry cheetah.
When he arrives Cristina reluctantly gathers her things. I grab my camera and the antenna, just in case.
Leon is driving a game-viewing vehicle that belongs to the reserve. It is essentially a pick-up truck with no roof on the cab. There are three padded bench seats across the bed. Normally tourists would sit there and gawk at giraffes, but this one is used to transport the security crew. Today it is just the three of us. Leon is at the wheel, I’m sitting on the first bench, Cristina is on the second. Leon is new at this and is clearly having fun playing the role of game-viewing guide.
Cristina and I have felt a bit suspicious of the fellow since we first met him two weeks ago but I would have a hard time pinning down the exact reason. Leon tells us he is quitting this job tomorrow and trying to get into the military, which he has wanted to do all his life. He also tells us that when he sees a spider he kills it. I don't know which one makes us distrust him more.
He drives and drives deep into the south, farther than we've ever been, and we find ourselves wondering where the hell we are going. I see the large machete at his side and have irrational thoughts about getting dumped in the river at the farthest point of the reserve, our remains neatly disposed of by crocodiles and hyenas, and my fifteen thousand dollars worth of camera gear financing a fabulous trip to Zanzibar.
Instead, Leon accidentally delivers a miracle.
There, by the carcass of shaggy waterbuck, is a lone cheetah with no collar.
It is sweet Kalahari.
He is alone and scared but seems fairly calm. He is not pacing the fence and he is not making the pitiful peeping sound that cheetahs use to call one another.
He sits quietly and stares at us from the shade of a small bush.
Cristina and I are ecstatic and worried. Scar is nowhere to be seen. I turn on the receiver and I hear his signal. He is somewhere in the area, but where?
We dismount the vehicle. Leon is nervous and warns us to be careful. It is clearly his first time around cheetahs. But after two and a half months we are comfortable and cocky and we stride purposefully up to Kalahari. He seems healthy and the kill appears to be nearly a day old. There are many tracks around and they are not all from cheetahs. It looks as though there were hyenas here recently.
The three of us set out on foot to find Scar. I'm working the telemetry equipment, Leon watching the ground for tracks, Cristina searching the grass. The signal leads us along the fence line and I'm clinging to the hope that he's still inside the reserve.
Across the fence, in this deep river valley lays both heaven and hell for a cheetah.
In cheetah heaven there are dozens of fat, docile farm animals wandering around, bleating loudly to announce that there is a 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet on hooves.
In cheetah hell there are dozens of angry and destitute humans who will kill you on sight for eating their only livelihood.
After a few minutes I stop in my tracks and swing the antenna to the right toward the village across the river. Cristina and Leon stop and turn back toward me, watching expectantly. ?The blips get louder and my heart sinks. He has crossed.
We strain to see him but the bush is thick. Normally we would phone Drik and let him deal with it. We are just volunteers after all. But there is no time. We must act.
Leon suggests we jump the fence and find him. I agree that we should try. Cristina looks at me like I'm crazy. I think back to my first day at the reserve when I accidentally touched the electric fence and it felt like somebody had hit me full-force across the back of my skull with a baseball bat. I give Leon a nod and he runs back to the truck. He backs it up to the fence and we climb to the highest point of the roof canopy frame, gingerly stepping over the top wire, and climbing down to the sandy ground on the opposite side.
So far, so good.
Leon, the six-and-a-half-foot-tall military wannabe, is dressed in a camouflage tee shirt and carrying a weapon: his evil-looking machete. I shed my beloved navy blue fleece and set out in my white Etnies tee, armed only with technology: the antenna and receiver. While Cristina stays in the truck, Leon and I follow the beeps.
We hear mooing from the river and see a herd of cattle in front of us. \"Do you think they would eat a cow?\" Leon asks.
\"No, but he might try to take a goat,\" I say gravely.
We walk on and the blips become loud and clear.
There he is.
The fat, lazy bastard is lying in the dark shade of a thick tree, eyeing me angrily.
His head is moving up and down and there is a sick, crunching sound.
\"Shit. He's eating.\"
I am thrilled to see him and absolutely furious with him. I want to hug him and then wring his neck and drag him back across the fence. I walk toward him to confirm my worst fear.
Leon grabs me by the shoulder to hold me back.
\"Be careful, he could attack you.\"
\"Then I would be the first person in human history to get eaten by a cheetah,\" I reply.
But I'm not feeling as confident as I sound. Scar is a mean son-of-a-bitch with a bad temper and he is a big, big kitty cat.
Imagine your average house cat. Now imagine him ten times bigger (about 140 pounds) and give him the ability to run faster than any other animal on the planet. Add to that two pairs of powerful fangs and a knack for strangulation.
According to my field guide of African mammals, \"The cheetah's skull is extensively modified to allow the jaws to serve as a clamp capable of maintaining a tight throttle-hold for up to 20 minutes until the prey has died of suffocation.\"
During their first week out of the boma (a large fenced enclosure) these cheetahs killed a young Kudu, a 250-pound bovine. It's not that these cats aren't capable of a killing a human. They just don't.
Usually.
I leave Leon standing in the sand and hunch down to peer under the dark branches.
Scar flattens his ears and makes a low growling sound. But the damn glutton keeps on eating.
He's done it this time. It's a goat.
\"We have to get that goat away from him and lead him back to the fence and try to lure him across,\" I say. Leon looks at me as though I have gone thoroughly mad.
\"No way,\" he says.
Leon phones Drik. They speak to each other urgently in their native tongue, Afrikaans. I can't understand them but I know exactly what Drik is saying.
\"Drik says we have to get the goat away from him and lead him back to the fence.\"
\"OK, let's go.\" But Leon is rooted to the spot. \"It's OK,\" I say. \"He won't attack you.\" Probably.
Leon tentatively steps forward, brandishing his machete in one hand and a large stick in the other. I am holding the flimsy aluminum antenna in front of me like a magical force field.
We duck down under the branches and start shouting at Scar, waving our arms and our implements like lunatics. But the devil won't budge. He is yowling back at us, blood-spattered lips curling back to reveal his yellow canines. He has placed one paw across his prize. His front end is held low to the ground and his rear end high, ready to spring.
There is nothing to do but move forward.
I'm three feet away when he leaps.
He doesn't spring towards me however. He spins in midair and is away like a phantom.
Our scare tactics worked a little too well. We drag the rotund black goat slowly through the sand toward the fence, trying to make it look enticingly delicious with its freshly spilled intestines dragging behind. But Scar is gone.
\"OK, I need a piece of meat and we need to go find him.\"
I ask Leon if he can hack a leg off the goat with his machete, but it is not designed for slicing. We are back near the truck now and Cristina offers her favorite pocketknife. It does the job.
Scar is moving quickly but we manage to catch up with him.
He has another dead goat. This one is grey, has no apparent wounds and has been dead for a while. Its limbs are stiff. The stomach is bloated like a balloon and looks like it's about to pop, so I don't think he killed it. Drik calls and says he's on his way. We begin to drag this second goat up to the fence but Scar is not interested. He is already fat and pissed off so he walks away again.
Leon and I split up one more time. He will wait at the fence to intercept Drik and I must tail Scar.
I phone Cristina to let her know what's happening, that Drik is on his way and I must continue to follow the cat. She says she just saw a large herd of goats walk by the fence and they're headed right in my direction. Dear God.
When I finally catch up to Scar he faces me and lays down in the sand. We are staring into each other's eyes and I'm seized with the ridiculous urge to talk him out of this, like a hostage negotiator speaking to a desperate bank robber.
\"Listen Scar. You've got to go back across the fence. They're going to kill you here. I know it seems pretty great with all these easy pickings, but it's not worth it. There are plenty of impala over there. Please. Just go back under the fence. I don't want you to die.\"
I find myself hoping that intention can be communicated in spite of language and species barriers. Maybe he only speaks Afrikaans?
He listens politely to my appeal then stands up and strolls under another thorny tree against a steep hillside. I climb down to peer down into his new cave.
I stand there watching his dark silhouette. I have a goat leg in one hand, the antenna and receiver in the other, and I'm listening to the shouts of villagers in the distance. That's when the herd of goats ambles by.
I position myself between the walking feast and the gluttonous cat, but I know there is nothing I can do if he decides to strike. A morbid part of me wants to see what it's like. How a domesticated goat would react to a cheetah. Would it just stand there and stare blankly until the jaws were upon its throat?
Scar doesn't move. Though he is eyeing them intently, he seems preoccupied.
Then I hear that skin-crawling lip-smacking sound again.
My head swims as my eyes adjust to the darkness under the tree. There are two more bodies; a black goat and another, snow-white, which Scar is now devouring.
Scar has gone on a murderous goat-killing rampage.
Oh shit. This is bad. This is very bad.
He must have killed them earlier and stashed them here. He must have been picking them off one by one and dragging them under trees for later consumption.
I want to stop him from eating because I know that the fuller he gets, the less likely he is to be lured out by food.
But there's nothing I can do. If I scare him off now he'll continue to run in the direction of the village, the absolute last thing that I want to happen. I sit there like a helpless little boy, chucking tiny pebbles at him in an attempt to distract him. But it doesn't work. He just stares at me and continues to munch.
I call Cristina to give her the update. Scar has killed three goats and the fat slob is still eating.
Then I wait.
I hear an engine approaching in the distance and I phone Cristina again to let her know they are close. The engine stops and Drik appears. He seems stressed but I know things are in his hands now. These cheetahs love him. He will get them home, so I begin walking back up toward the fence.
But something has gone wrong. It's not working. Scar has run again.
\"Oh fek, he's killed another goat!\" shouts Drik.
My mind is racing. How can this be? Four goats in one morning? I always knew Scar was an ornery cat, but I never suspected that he was a homicidal maniac.
I'm dodging thorn bushes again, stalking a psycho killer through the veld.
Drik disappears and Leon and I manage to corral Scar back up to the fence.
I phone Cristina to find out what's going on. Drik has called the vet and is heading back to the road to wait for him. He’s going to take Scar down.
Cristina and I have theorized that Scar is addicted to drugs and that he crosses the fence only to get that shot in the ass.
We box Scar in against the fence for nearly half an hour. Leon and I stand at forty-five degree angles to him and block his path each time he tries to get back to his killing spree.
Across the fence we can see Kalahari enjoying his waterbuck supper, devouring it greedily while Scar watches and flicks his long tail with irritation. Scar finally wants to cross back now, all on his own, and he leans his head down near the bottom of the fence. But he doesn't go for it. Either he's too chicken to risk the shock again or he knows his belly is too fat with goat.
Drik returns with the vet and I am surprised to see it is not the usual guy. Perhaps he wasn't available on such short notice. I'm also surprised to see Dennis, the game manager from Mkuze reserve. Apparently Dennis was just coming over to watch a rugby match with Drik and then found himself swept into a crisis.
The substitute vet jumps the fence with his shiny new dart gun. Within a minute I hear the hollow THUNK of the CO2 cartridge pushing the dart through the air. Scar hardly jumps as the happy drugs pulse into his system. He wanders off with hot-pink feathers dangling from his right thigh.
Everyone is talking excitedly, explaining to each other what has happened, and I alone follow Scar into the bush.
I find him once again under a dark tree. He's not yet asleep.
Unbelievable. He's found his way back to the fourth goat. The son of a bitch is eating again.
You've got to give him credit. This cat has got style.
He passes out with his face in his dinner. Freakin' perfect.
I call everyone over and Leon and Drik carry the engorged cheetah back to the fence. He must have at least 30 pounds of goat meat in his round belly.
We prop the electric ground wires with short sticks and drag Scar back under.
I walk over to check on Kalahari and I am surprised to see the pink feathers on his rump as well. Oh no. No. No. Why? What has Kalahari done to deserve this? Kalahari is doing just fine out here. He was finally away from Scar, seemed to be over him, hunting and eating fine, not causing any trouble. And now he's going to be knocked down again and thrown back in the boma, just for falling in with the wrong crowd. I feel a pang of sadness and anger on his behalf.
But it's too late now. Drik has made his decision. They are going back into the enclosure and then Scar is getting shipped away.
I ask Drik if I should take the radio collar off Scar while he's down, and he gives me the go-ahead. I grab my trusty Swiss-army knife with the tiny built-in pliers and begin removing the nuts that hold the thick leather collar together. Scar is lying motionless in the dirt, eyes slightly open, as I carefully remove his burden, the very device that ripped him away from cheetah heaven and delivered him from certain death.
Then he kicks. His mouth opens. He is running in his sleep, like a dreaming dog. Unconcerned, I finish the job and place the collar in the truck. Kalahari should be down by now but something has gone wrong. The dosage was off and he is still walking. The vet goes to dart him again. Meanwhile Scar is becoming more agitated. He is waking up.
Oh shit. Fleetingly it occurs to me I ought to get the collar back on him before he jumps up and disappears, but instead I stare blankly and call to Drik.
\"I think he's waking up...\"
This is a disaster.
To be fair, darting an animal is a tricky business and can be very dangerous to the animal. It is always better to err on the side of caution for the animal's safety. An over-dose could hurt him. An under-dose will merely result in an animal waking up early and tearing your face off.
Finally, Kalahari is down and sleeping peacefully. But we have no cages on hand. Drik arrived in the Rhino, a small golf cart-sized vehicle. We have no choice but to transport them in Leon's truck.
Cristina is sitting on the middle bench when suddenly she finds an unconscious cheetah lying next to her.
She is squashed all the way to one side and Scar's body takes up the entire remaining seat, his head against her leg.
I'm kneeling on the seat in front of her and smiling, watching her face as she looks down at the massive cat and back up at me with an open mouth. I remove my fleece and place it over his partially open eyes in an attempt to reduce his stress. Perhaps Cristina would like one as well.
\"I'll sit there if you want,\" I say.
\"No, no. That's OK,\" she says bravely, even though Scar is starting to twitch and yawn.
Luckily for Cristina, the vet sends her to the back seat, gives Scar another shot and sits down next to him.
Now Kalahari is loaded in and I'm less than thrilled to see he has been placed on my bench.
He is lying on his side with his feet facing forward. His four-foot long body seems huge and I have to squeeze all the way to the right in order to fit him in. His head, the one that is designed to \"maintain a tight throttle-hold for up to 20 minutes until the prey has died of suffocation,\" is lying directly against my left leg. Somebody offers a thin, green cotton jacket to place over his eyes.
Then we are off.
Leon floors it and we bound off across the reserve. Dennis is in the front passenger seat. ?We casually joke about taking the cheetahs for a game drive. I have one arm across Kalahari's barrel chest and can feel his massive lungs heaving. With the other hand I hold his head, pressing the jacket around his eyes, trying to make sure his nostrils are not covered so he can breathe. His warm, furry body is sliding around on the plastic seat but I'm not going to let him go.
It's starting to get dark now and the air is getting colder as we speed along the rutted dirt tracks. My thin tee shirt offers little protection and goose bumps are forming on my arms. I'm so close to the edge of the truck that thorny branches thrash my face and shoulder and I cry out each time, but I am completely focused on the unconscious cheetah at my side.
Cristina is leaning over the top of the middle bench and holding Scar to his seat.
There is a fetid stink in the air. Dennis looks back over his shoulder and says, \"Aw jeez, Hal,\" smiling at me and waving the air in front of his nose.
\"Sorry, I had a lot of waterbuck for lunch,\"? I reply. Kalahari is farting in his sleep.
We hit a large bump and all of us fly into the air. I feel Kalahari's body leave the seat but I pin him back down.
We're halfway there.
That's when I feel him move.
At first I think I'm imagining it. It feels like the top of his head is pushing against my leg.
Then he pushes harder. Oh no.
\"Uh. He's pushing against my leg.\"
\"Just hold him,\" says the vet calmly from behind me.
OK. No need to panic. This is normal. Just hold him.
Then he pushes again. Harder. And again. He is stretching. He is waking up. Oh shit, he’s waking up.
\"Um. He's waking up.\"
\"Just hold him.\"
Dennis looks back at me, only mildly concerned. They are ignoring me, assuming I am cracking under the pressure.
Then he stretches his front leg.
Nobody saw it but me.
Now his neck is regaining power and I am holding his head down with all my strength.
Dennis has one arm slung over the back of his seat, holding both of Kalahari's back legs gently.
And then a back leg flexes.
Dennis turns around in alarm.
\"Uh. Yeah,” I say. “He's waking up.\"
Now all his legs begin to convulse. Dennis springs up and grabs one of the back legs. The vet lurches over and grabs the other. I am holding down his entire front end.
Cristina, who is holding Scar all by herself now says with panic in her voice, \"Why don't we let him go?\"
Nobody can hear. Nobody can listen.
Yet her sensible comment sinks in to my adrenalin-charged brain.
\"We should let him go! He's got a collar. Stop the car,\" I say.
\"Just hold him!\" shouts the vet.
\"We almost there!\" shouts Leon.
But we are NOT almost there. We will never make it in time.
Kalahari begins to make a low murderous growl.
I can't hold him.
His head is thrashing now and he is howling a blood-curdling scream.
I cannot hold him.
Two grown men are trying to hold on to the back legs of the fastest animal on earth while I am holding both his front legs in one arm and his writhing skull in the other.
This can’t be happening.
I am terrified that I will choke him but I have no choice. I pin his head against the seat and my leg and hold on with all my strength.
His mouth is wide open now and I see those massive white fangs glowing in the twilight.
We'll never make it.
\"We're almost there!\"
We'll never make it.
\"Let's let him go!\"
\"We're almost there!\"
We're hurdling across the dam wall now, a precariously narrow dirt road with steep drop-offs on both sides. We are all in serious danger of dying in horrible car crash, five humans and two cheetahs. But there is no space in my mind for anything but those teeth.
As we race across the final section of the dam we see Drik merrily driving his Rhino, smiling and making a thumbs up.
I shout.
\"He's awake!\"
But Drik can't hear me over the engines.
\"He's awake!\"
Drik is driving toward the bomas and still smiling obliviously.
I see the boma in the distance but the entry gate is closed. The gate is CLOSED.
\"OPEN THE GATE DRIK! HE'S AWAKE!\"
Drik finally understands the terrifying truth. He sprints to the boma and opens the gate.
Kalahari is a howling demon, twisting in terrified agony.
We burst through the gate and stop the truck. Leon leaps out and comes to my side, grabs the cheetah's head still wrapped in a jacket, while I leap out of the position of imminent danger.
Without realizing it I have scampered up onto the top of the spare tire bolted to the back of the truck, like a frightened mouse. Cristina is staring in horror, still holding Scar to the bench.
\"On the count of three we let him go!\"
\"ONE!\"?Kalahari is thrashing.
\"TWO!\"?Veins bulging, sweat pouring.
\"THREE!\"
But nobody moves, there is nowhere to go, nowhere to run, everyone is terrified to hold on, terrified to let go.
I am terrified of what will happen to half-drugged Kalahari when he bursts out.
One more time they count,?\"One, two, THREE!\"
Everyone releases and Kalahari explodes. He lunges forward. Leon sidesteps his hazy fury. The cheetah leaps and his front legs flop over the side of the truck. He tumbles forward in a rag-doll summersault, twisting his flexible body into impossible positions as he lands into a raging pile in the dirt.
He regains his feet and yowls at the universe.
Two women have mysteriously appeared on the scene and are inside the boma, holding cameras. They must have come with Dennis. Kalahari looks around with wide eyes, terrified and furious, at the eight human figures surrounding him.
In his drug-addled brain it must seem like the worst acid trip of his life.
Poor little Scarlet watches from nearby, just outside the fence. She is one of the new young female cheetahs and she has been prematurely ousted from her enclosure to make room for the wayward males. She seems confused, concerned, unwilling to leave. We call her Scarlet because she has a black scar across her nose, just like Scar.
Kalahari trips toward the electric fence, floundering and flailing. He snarls and stamps and rolls to the ground. He is in imminent danger of electrocuting himself.
\"Everyone come over here and we'll move him away from the fence!\"
All eight of us line up with our backs to the electric wires, the enraged feline directly in front of us, hugging the ground and snarling upward. Somebody throws a blue fleece shirt to the vet.
\"Hey, that's mine!\" I say, feeling like a fool.
He holds it like a matador, up to Kalahari's face, pushing him backwards, then tosses it over the cheetah's head. Kalahari wrestles it off and grinds it into the dirt, stumbling off into the center of the enclosure.
I jump back into the truck and help lift out the obese psycho killer, still sleeping peacefully on the bench and digesting his goats.
When they are both safely on the ground I roll open the gate. Everyone files out and Leon backs the truck through. Drik closes it with a clang.
We all breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone is smiling and laughing. Cristina and I can only stare at each other and shake our heads in disbelief.
\"How was that for a last night?\" Drik asks us with a grin.
Leon is driving us back to our house through the frigid night air. I am reluctant to put my fleece on as it is covered with cheetah spit and I have been warned repeatedly that they can carry a parasite that causes deadly cysts in the brain. Trying hard not to wipe my sunburned lips, I stare into the black wind in silence. I keep imagining that Kalahari is still lying next to me on the seat. I can feel him pushing against my leg. As Leon drops us at our front gate we admit to him that it was, without a doubt, the most exciting game drive we have ever had.
Now, as I stand here exhausted and wash the cheetah hairs off my shirt into the kitchen sink, I am filled with sadness at the pointless torture that Kalahari has endured, and worry for Scar's future. Our unexpected journey has come full circle. They were released only a week after our arrival and now they've been put back into captivity the night before our departure. We came here to monitor wild dogs and instead became cheetah-trackers.
I have developed a deep love for these incredible and rapidly disappearing animals. What will become of these beautiful cats?
In my minds eye I picture the closing credits of a cheesy teen comedy. A photo of each cat appears on the screen and the titles read:
\"Scar was relocated to the middle of the desert where he met up with another punk cheetah named Spot. They formed a straight-edge gang called the Death Cheeters and have given up goats to become the first vegetarian cheetahs on the continent.\"
\"Kalahari was released back into the reserve where he encountered the young female, Scarlet. They convinced a crocodile to bite off their collars and then disappeared into the sunset together. They have since raised three beautiful cubs. The littlest one is named Scar Junior.\"
Be safe boys.
This story is an excerpt from the book “The Great Heartbreak Experiment” written by Hal Brindley and Cristina Garcia. It details the adventures of two complete strangers who agree to travel across Africa together for seven months: she a Spanish zoologist and he an American wildlife photographer. They each write their own side of the story without every looking at what the other has written. You can read the full story online at greatheartbreak.com
For more stories, photos and videos by Hal Brindley visit halbrindley.com


© Copyright 2020 Hal Brindley. All rights reserved.

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