This shouldn’t be something that we need to point out, but here we are again. If you ever find yourself in a drive-through safari, do not get out of the car when you’re in the animal enclosures. Particularly if that animal happens to be a big cat like a cheetah. And even more so if you have children with you.
Unfortunately, as dangerous and irresponsible as this sounds, it's exactly what happened at a Dutch safari park last week. Footage has emerged online showing a family of five getting out of their car in an enclosure that houses a number of cheetahs. This goes down exactly as you might imagine, with the world’s fastest land animal chasing the family, who scramble to get back into their car.
Thankfully, neither the humans nor the cheetahs were harmed during the incident.
Filmed by a car following the family as they drove through the Netherlands' Safari Park Beekse Bergen, all those involved had a lucky escape. But this is likely more down to the fact that they decided to get out in an enclosure for cheetahs, rather than any of the other big cat.
If they’d decided to get a closer look at lions, leopards, or tigers, the outcome may well have been dramatically different. As while they are the fastest, cheetahs are also one of the lithest big cats, and so are not particularly aggressive.
According to one expert, it is most likely that rather than trying to hurt – or even hunt – the visitors, the cheetahs were investigating this intrusion into their territory, and defending it from these interlopers. That’s not to say the people could not have been seriously injured, but it probably worked in their favor at least.
As another incident from China goes to show, had this been the tiger exhibit things could have gone a lot worse. Two years ago a woman got out of her car in Badaling Wildlife World, just outside Beijing, China, and was attacked by one of the tigers. While she miraculously survived the horrific attack, tragically her mother who tried to rescue her was not so lucky and was mauled to death by another tiger.
Needless to say, the rules telling you to keep your doors and windows locked when driving through safari parks are there for a reason. Don't break them.