Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kitty, Kitty, Kitty....

Sometimes I feel sorry for people not because of the things that happen to them, but because of the things they allow themselves to happen to them. Let me rather put it this way. Sometimes I feel sorry for people because of their own stupidity.

It happens quite often that I sit at the beach with my child when an "unleashed" dog comes running up and jumps onto my child. Usually very friendly and in a playful mood, but always a bit upsetting to the child. What annoys me the most is that the dog's owner would usually justify his dog without a leash with this comment: "Don't worry it won't bite!". Usually I would reply with: "How do you know, did he tell you that?" I have a good reason for doing that because when he was small a dog actually did go for his face. The owner said it was strange because the dog had never done that before. I guess there is always a first time then, huh?

We want to predict animal behaviour. The big mistake we make is to think that if we were able to domesticate dogs and cats we can do it with other wild animals as well. We honestly believe that we can change their natural instincts when they are fed milk from a baby bottle. This is an unfortunate lesson a woman from Scotland learned a couple of days ago. While she was stroking a cheetah on the head, a second one jumped her from behind. The kitty cats we have in Africa are not the ones you see on TV chasing little mice, so when they are taken from the wild and put in a camp for tourist to snap away pretty holiday pictures it is quickly forgotten that these cats still long to be out there in the wild with their slight craving for fresh meat that never really goes away. Just like our domesticated dogs and cats we cannot change or predict their behaviour or remove that natural instinct they have to catch their own prey. They might have been taken from the wild, but the wild is still pretty much hidden under that beautiful dotted skin and even though they were hand fed it didn't have any affect on the strength of their jaws. Even if they just playfully bite they have enough power to crush a skull or rip apart limbs.

A friendly warning to tourist travelling to Africa. They look tamed and they might never have attacked anyone before, but they are still wild animals. This is not only applicable to cheetahs, this is for all those animals you would normally find in the Kruger National Park. Go see them there, take pictures there from the safety of your car. Your friends will be more impressed with your pictures taken in the wild than one where you were taken from behind.


And if these pictures have not convinced you yet, take a look at this...

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