|Byron at a rural school|
|Even as a cub he knew how to relax in style...|
|And relaxing as a adult came just as naturally!|
|There was always time to "play"|
To travel into the variety of circumstances that Byron does, requires a bold attitude, as well as patience. One can never create such an "ambassador" cheetah, it all depends on whether they have the correct personality or not. Byron was hand-reared, and this is one of the reasons he is able to be around learners and enjoy the company of his handlers. Hand-rearing a cheetah is however not the only factor involved. At the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, cubs are always left with their moms where-ever possible, but in some instances cubs have to be hand-reared if there are new moms that don't look after the cubs, or when there are medical reasons. Some of the cubs that have been hand-reared in the past have not been very friendly, let alone be able to be trained as an ambassador cheetah, which is what makes Byron's laid back personality all the more phenomenal.
|Byron meeting Clare Vale, famous lady V8 racing driver and supporter of The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre|
The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, and CHEETA are passionate about education, so that learners and adults can learn more about why they should conserve our environment. After giving an informative presentation about cheetahs and the environment, Byron comes into the venue under controlled circumstances, and learners can see a REAL cheetah with a larger than life personality. If the conditions allow for it, some of the learners are able to come up and stroke him while he lies on a table...and PURRS! That is possibly the most rewarding part of working in this environmental education programme, not only are the children adorable, and falling in love with the cheetah in their school hall, but Byron is content, and enjoying the attention.
Byron, along with our education team, often have to travel to destinations that are far away from the farm in Hartbeespoortdam. If we have to travel very far, it is better to stay overnight so that the traveling time is kept to a minimum in one day. One such example would be when Byron visited a few schools in the All Days area in 2008. As a result, he has become very used to staying in lodges and guest houses, and we would like to share some of these photographs with you.
|"Interesting...but where is the food?"|
|Bath time for Byron|
|"How did they fit all those people in that little box?"|
|I really am a handsome cheetah!|
|Baby Byron admires himself - "mirror mirror on the wall, who is the cutest cheetah of them all"|
|Still looking good!|
|Byron and his teddy checking having a good look outside|
|Beauty rest - guess that's why he is so gorgeous|
|Marilyn, his main handler through the years, giving him a well earned cuddle|
|Checking on the menu|
|"Could I have one of these in my camp, please..?"|
|"Bad Hair day - no pictures please!"|
|Chilling on the deck-chair|
|Admiring the pool...from a distance|
|A room with a view!|
|"Anything interesting out there?"|
This superstar cheetah will definitely be the topic of a few more posts, but for now I thought it would be a good way to start off by introducing him to you by sharing some of his fun pictures from his travels.