Tag Archives: cheetah

The Big Cats and Crocodiles of Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn (2017-07-04) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 MAY 2018

Celebrating over 30 years of conserving and caring for endangered animal species, the Cango Wildlife Ranch (which originally started life out as a crocodile show farm), is one of the now very iconic Oudtshoorn attractions for visiting families – after all, which small kid is ever going to forget entering the premises through those toothy, gaping crocodile jaws!

A fully accredited, privately owned institution, Cango Wildlife Ranch has worked for years towards the conservation of cheetah and other endangered species – so much so that they are in fact one of the five biggest cheetah centres in the world and has for many years had the highest survival rate of cubs produced globally.

Currently housing over 90 species of animals, all in good condition, and looked after by a large experienced team of both professionals and volunteers, the Cango Wildlife Ranch serves to maintain both excellent breeding programmes as well as robust public awareness campaigns.

Then of course there is that whole entertaining visitors through edu-tourism thing.

The Cango Wildlife Ranch setup is fantastic. The grounds, pathways, and enclosures are interestingly presented, well maintained, and in fact just well done, while the guided tours which lead you through everything are slick and very informative – and for those in search of something even more adventurous, experiences like crocodile cage diving and big cat interaction are also available.

There was of course no way that Chantelle, the girls and I could pass up the opportunity to pay the ranch a visit as part of our June Holidays road trip last year, and I’m quite glad that we did make the time to do so in the end.

The girls were enthralled, I was happy to relive pleasant childhood memories, and most pleasing of all, Cango Wildlife Ranch remains still well worth the visit.

Seriously. If you find yourself in Oudtshoorn and have kids in tow, then missing a visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch (which is open 365 days of the year just by the way) is pretty much unthinkable!

Related Link: Cango Wildlife Ranch | Oudtshoorn | #JuneHolidays2017

Cubs at Cheetah Outreach in Paardevlei, Somerset West (2017-04-23) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 MAY 2017

Twenty years strong now, Cheetah Outreach (now at Paardevlei as opposed to their original Spier stomping grounds) continues their mission to raise awareness around, and campaign for, the survival of the free ranging Southern African cheetah.

They do this through a broad range of projects, like funding and coordinating a South African Cheetah Anatolian Shepherd Guard dog project, delivering natural science and literacy resources embracing environmental education into less advantaged schools, sponsoring teacher training workshops, supporting range research of free-ranging cheetah, and finally financing curriculum-linked school outreach trips and Bus 2 Us on site education visits.

They have a large number of hand-reared, captive born cheetahs which they use as ambassadors – acting essentially as representatives of the endangered free-ranging cheetah, which then provides the public with the opportunity to see, learn about, and then meet this majestic and fascinating species face to face.

The girls and I ambled into Cheetah Outreach one late afternoon last month, and spent some time walking around all the enclosures to take in the collection of bat eared foxes, black backed jackals, servals, caracals, meerkats, and Anatolian shepherd dogs, before heading up the amusingly named Cat Scan viewing deck to watch a couple of tourists being guided through their animal encounter session with the cheetahs.

The girls were of course totally enamoured by the two furry cheetah cubs pacing around (as well as the feeding of the bat eared foxes), though as per usual, annoyingly they found the stuffed toys of the curio shop by far the most interesting bit of all!

I was surprised to encounter Cheetah Outreach’s very unusual stance of essentially allowing you into their grounds for basically free (I paid R15 for all three of us to walk around!), meaning that if you just want to show your kids what a cheetah looks like (and go on a quick guided tour), it’s not going to cost you any real money.

Animal encounters is of course where the the actual money making happens, and there are a number of different encounters, walks and runs available to choose from.

Animal sanctuaries/education centers that offer encounters are as always a contentious issue for a lot of people, but if you have kids like I do then undoubtedly you will appreciate the fact that they exist – teaching a child about something standing right in front of them is always going to be better than trying to explain off a printed page or some animated screen.

P.S. The lovely body of water that is the Paardevlei is currently completely dried up. So much so that there are now buck grazing where once there were flocks of flamingos!

Related Link: Cheetah Outreach

Cheetah: The Bounding Robot that now Jumps over Obstacles! Hardware | Tech News 31 MAY 2015

Building robots that mimic animal behaviour is pretty common these days it would seem, and in 2014 the team making up the MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory group (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in case you’re not familiar with the famous MIT abbreviation) unveiled their entry in the form of the Cheetah, a robot set apart by its bounding movement action.

Needless to say, the robot was glorious to see in action:

Fast forward a year, and the team has announced improved algorithms that now allows their Cheetah robot to hurdle over obstacles as it runs – making it the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path going through the following sequence: As it detects an approaching obstacle (using LIDAR), it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot then gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

In experiments on a treadmill and an indoor track, the cheetah robot successfully cleared obstacles up to 18 inches tall – more than half of the robot’s own height – while maintaining an average running speed of 5 miles per hour.

To see this in action is pretty amazing:

An incredible feat and yet another big step closer to that terrifying fear of being chased down by a killer robot becoming a reality!

mit cheetah robot jumping over hurdle

Related Link: MIT | Bounding Cheetah | Hurdling Cheetah

The Robots of Boston Dynamics Hardware | Military 08 OCT 2013

If the Terminator timeline Skynet evolves from anything already here, then chances are pretty damn good that it is simply a rename of current robotics company Boston Dynamics. Famed for their animal-like robotics funded by DARPA and intended for use by the American military, the things that Boston Dynamics creates is enough to put the fear of robots in any sane human being!

The latest release is the WildCat, the sequel to 2012’s fast running Cheetah robot, and seeing it in action is pretty terrifying – at the moment it’s only travelling at about 25 km/h, though if you remember correctly, it’s daddy set the world robotic speed record by running at nearly double that!

It gallops, it bounds and despite the Americans telling you that it would be great for “emergency response, firefighting, advanced agriculture and vehicular travel”, just imagine this thing kitted out with some scythe blades or a laser or two, busy chasing you down!

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Tony S. Daniel and Richard Friend: Justice League Vol. 2 #13 Cover (2012) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 02 FEB 2013

The League takes on a villain destined to be one of the greatest threats to the DC Universe: the mysterious Cheetah! But who is she? What is her connection to Wonder Woman? And how will this fundamentally change relationships within the team?

Written by Geoff Johns, the interior art team of Tony S. Daniel and Richard Friend were also tasked with coming up with this brilliantly detailed cover of carnage, featuring a rather angry Cheetah taking on pretty much the entire Justice League!