Jun 29, 2006

STELLENBOSCH, South Africa –  "Rurrrarrr," Kaya exhales.

Maybe I'm petting the giant cat too hard? Or is my mild herbivore scent signaling"prey"? I recoil.

"No, no," the handler assures me. "He's purring."


A "cheetah encounter" costs about $US11 at Spier, a Cape Dutch village-turned-tourism-enclave. Though promised 2-3 minutes each, we're hustled along – a photo-op assembly line, as if Kaya were a glad-handling politician.

Then again, he numbers among the fastest land mammals, so perhaps the pace is appropriate.

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