Wildlife is a fascinating place. Once upon a time, we were afraid of the wild. It was a place where there were harmful beasts like tigers and cheetahs – beasts that could kill any of us and end the entire human race. If you look at the evolutionary history, you might find out that we often used fire to ward off wild animals. Fire became a tool to advance our civilizations and soon, we were capable of making better weapons with which we could kill our once-predators. From that time onward, we tried to conquer the wild. Our relationship with the wild has always been a bit precarious – one time, we are afraid of it and another time, we want to conquer it.
However, nowadays, we are fascinated by it. That’s why many wildlife photographers click amazing wildlife pictures and send it over to the television or post it on the internet. We look at it and are amazed by it. The wild is not something ‘wild’ in the negative sense – the wild is beautiful in its chaos. Wildlife photographers have the time of their life living in the wild, in close proximity to nature and amazing animals and creatures.
But imagine being a wildlife photographer and coming in close proximity to a cheetah! Sounds scary, right?
Dolph Volker is such a wildlife photographer. He had a dog, that died in his own arms. From that time, Dolph dedicated his life to animal rights. He did not want animals to die just because of the greed of human beings and their show of dominance. Dolph started to volunteer at the Cheetah Experience present in South Africa. The Cheetah Experience is a non-profit home for many threatened and endangered species like leopards, lions (male and non-breeding), wolves, African wildcats, meerkats, cheetahs and also a Siberian tiger.
Dolph loved the Cheetah Experience and every vacation, he would go there to enjoy life in nature and among animals. One animal type that he fell in love with the most were the cheetahs. He just loved these majestic creatures and wanted to befriend them. The problem was that cheetahs are shy creatures. They will not become easy friends with you. Dolph engaged with cheetahs for years and months. He really wanted to gain their confidence.
Well, the dream of many wildlife photographers came true to Dolph one day when he was just sleeping near the area. He was sleeping under a tree when a cheetah decided to show up. The cheetah, Eden, came near, smelled him and then lay down near him and started cuddling him. Dolph woke up and was shocked. Eden thought of Dolph has someone of her own species. She engaged in cuddling and nibbling Dolph. It started a wonderful friendship between the two.
Now, Dolph often visits the place and engages with the cheetahs. He has been called ‘The Cheetah Whisperer’ too. That’s something! No wonder he is living the dreams of many wildlife photographers.