HLUHLUWE, SOUTH AFRICA — Video footage has emerged of a cheetah attacking a woman at a big cat orphanage in South Africa — just a day before the beast went on to maul a teenager.
The Driver family from New Zealand visited the Emdoneni Lodge while on vacation last month, to get up close to some orphaned cheetahs. Staff at the lodge told the family that they might even be able to touch the hand-raised cats, depending on their mood.
Unfortunately, one the cheetahs, Dew, was not interested in being petted, and instead pushed Isaac Driver, 14, to the ground. After pinning the boy, the cat then started mauling him. Isaac’s father managed to pull Dew off his son, and luckily, the boy only sustained minor injuries.
The family hadn’t been informed ahead of time that Dew had actually attacked an exchange student the day before: Peggy Lio from Macau. Had they seen the video footage, they probably would’ve kept their distance. Lio escaped without injury, but you don’t get past a cheetah attack without some psychological trauma.
South African Tourism does have an anti-petting policy, but somehow the act is still legal in the country. As a result of the bad publicity, cheetah interaction at Emdoneni Lodge has been suspended.