Lisa Kytsaho, aged 24 years, is the Head of Western Cape Cheetah Conservation. She currently works in South Africa, at the Inverdoorn Game Reserve. Originally from Stockholm, she moved here six years ago in order to fulfill her dreams. And she ended up raising an amazing cheetah pack.
Lisa is quite at ease with her family of sixteen healthy cheetahs. They accept her as one of their own. One cheetah even gets to suck Lisa’s thumb. However, some among the cheetah pack allow no one but Lisa to come near them.
These animals are normally not welcoming to other humans amongst them. But Lisa is an exception. Two male cheetahs among the cheetah pack only let Lisa approach them.
According to the surrogate mother, the rehabilitation process has been going on for some of the cheetahs. And they have moved quite ahead, lacking human contact for many years. Hence, they are now more wild than tamed.
Lisa raised the two seven years old male members of the cheetah pack. They were only five months old at that time. Hence, they tolerate only Lisa’s presence in their enclosure. They even allow her to touch them. But no one else. Because they tend to get quite aggressive toward strangers.
Besides these two, the others in the cheetah pack are relatively friendly. They allow people to interact with them. However, the process is a slow one. It takes up to weeks for them to become comfortable with someone new.
Lisa got training to become an animal worker in Sweden. She also got to visit abroad due to her practical training. It was then that she first went to South Africa. She worked at Namibia for African wildlife rehabilitation. It was love at first sight. It then became clear to her as to what her life goal was. And it was soon to turn out a wonderful cheetah pack.
After finishing her studies, Lisa moved to South Africa at 18 years of age. She then dedicated her life to working on conserving and rehabilitating predators. And among the predators, she chose to specifically work with cheetahs.
She spent a huge amount of time with them every day. She took care of their needs and didn’t restrict their freedom. It developed into a mutual bond of love and respect. The whole cheetah pack loved their wildlife worker.
Lisa does have a special bond with many such animals. However, she wants them to be treated as wild animals and not as pets. They are not meant as entertainment for humans. They have their own minds and their sense of pride is strong. Their instincts are present and they have individual needs, they cannot be possessed or owned.
According to Lisa, her entire cheetah pack was born in captivity. She and her co-workers rescued them from different locations. They were not given proper attention at all. In fact, many were almost close to dying at times. Lisa made sure to take care of the cheetahs. She also helped them get rehabilitated in their natural habitat.
It is not always that such a bond between human and animals is seen. However, Lisa and her cheetah pack show that anything is possible with love and respect.