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Wildlife Photographer Takes A Nap With A Cheetah
Could you imagine waking up to see this?!
D.G. Sciortino
07.02.18

Some people love animals so much they’ll do just about anything. No matter how dangerous that may be. Even if that means sleeping with a cheetah.

Dolph C. Volker is one of those people. He is a long time animal lover with a zoology degree.

“Began after watching my first dog die in my arms. It changed me. All life has greater meaning now. Consistent repetitive, compassion, love, and respect,” he explains on his YouTube channel.

The Cheetah Whisperer
Source:
The Cheetah Whisperer

His love for animals crossed the line into advocacy after he began to volunteer at the Cheetah Experience in South Africa. The Cheetah Experience is a sanctuary that raises awareness for endangered species and ethically breeds cheetahs in captivity.

It was there that he became obsessed with cheetahs.

Volker, who lives in the U.S. and has a fulltime job, saves up all of his money and vacation time so that he can spend his time off volunteering at The Cheetah Experience.

The Cheetah Whisperer
Source:
The Cheetah Whisperer

He’s made a lot of friends at the sanctuary, including a cheetah named Eden. Volker was a little afraid to be so close to the cheetahs at first.

He got to know Eden when she approached him while he was napping under a tree.

Eden eventually decided that she liked Volker and decided to snuggle up with him. Now they are the best of friends. They cuddle together and Volker even lets Eden lick and groom him. Sometimes she gets a little naughty and will nip at him but he’s used to her nibbles by now.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot

“True to Eden’s nature, she warmed up to me in days and ended up really liking me, so much so that I was able to trust her completely. The more she felt comfortable with me, the more she treated me just like another Cheetah which included the grooming, nibbling, biting, pacifying, purring, laying on me, and sleeping… cuddling up close to me. I’m amazed how much more interactive and affectionate Cheetahs are compared to the average domesticated cat,” Volker writes.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot

She looks so peaceful and cozy with him! It’s ridiculously adorable. And the lack of fear this guy has is just unbelievable, I mean would you let a cheetah bite your ear?

He admits that it hurts but still indulges the beautiful feline anyway.

“I had no idea Cheetahs were so special. I’ve fallen in love with them. It’s an incredible species that truly deserve help, support, and protection,” Volker says.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot

That’s why Volker dedicates so much of his time to working with cheetahs. His YouTube channel is filled with videos of Volker and his cheetah friends.

He has become so close to cheetahs that he now calls himself “The Cheetah Whisperer.”

He’s even got his own cheetah as well as plans to establish his own non-profit cheetah breeding center in South Africa.

YouTube Screenshot
Source:
YouTube Screenshot
“I am the legal owner and guardian of Gabriel The Cheetah (pictured). He is the first member of my cheetah family to become a part of my breeding project. He is my foundation animal. I’ve known Gabriel since he was eight months old and we hit it off from week one. He will be five years old Aug of 2018. I have special plans for Gabriel and those that follow him to live a life close to freedom as possible and show them what it is like to be a cheetah,” says Volker.
You can watch Volker and his cuddle session with Eden in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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