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I woke up to one of Auckland?s ‘disgusting’ winter days. Not only was there torrential rain and huge winds, there was no power! The whole city was in a black out I had booked in for my Cheetah experience for 11.00, given the weather I wanted to confirm that all was ok. I tried to call using my mobile but the grid was over loaded, because most of the land lines just didn’t work.

I had looked forward to this experience for weeks, a little rain and no power were not going to put me off. I was so pleased to be warmly welcomed by our host who said ‘Well I had to be here, the Cheetah’s have been expecting you and we couldn?t disappoint them’.

Our host informed us that the power was a little of a concern for the zoo seeming as they keep the animals ‘focused’ using electric fences to keep them where they need to be. Luckily the zoo has generators otherwise it might have been way more of an experience than even I would have wanted.

My client Laurel McLay from Amplify Sales Auckland was with me for this experience (shared experience is always so much more fulfilling) was wearing a bright yellow jacket and I was wearing bright red. With umbrellas pushing through the storm we got to the Cheetah house. The keepers kindly invited us to take off our jackets – they said ‘We are not quite sure how the 1 year old Cheetah?s will react to all that colour’.

There is a handler for each of the Cheetah’s, it is their job to watch, and listen for the mood of the feline. One dedicated to each cat. The keepers were with their respective charges side by side, when we were invited to join them, they then placed a collar and lead on the cheetah. The brothers are about two thirds of their adult size, their legs, long and graceful.

We were able to pat and touch the Cheetah’s. The keepers suggested that we not touch their heads, feet, stomach or tail (I was very keen to comply, who wants to upset the star performer). What was amazing as I reached to stroke this graceful beast was the noise. A cat purrs, a cheetah revs. Your hand vibrates as you stroke its coat. The fur is soft but bristly. Gorgeous in colour, soft to touch, fantastic fur ? quite the fashion icons really.

These are pampered felines, so pampered in fact that one who has had a little surgery, has wasabi on it’s wound (quite the pamper treatment really). This discourages them from licking the wound…except when they get a taste for the wasabi so the keepers switch to tobasco.

These are the first Cheetahs in Auckland since 1926 they are two of only 12000 in the world. This is an absolute must of an experience, it is an amazing experience to be with the fastest beasts on earth.

I love being Chief Experience Officer!

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