If Duma were to be compared to a movie character, it would definitely be Rambo. But this rough and tough adrenaline junkie also has a heart of gold, and the kind of larger than life personality that everyone who meets him falls in love with.
Two and a half year old Duma was born at the Centre, and is the brother of Tristan – one of our king cheetahs. These two siblings used to live next door to each other, that is until Duma got into the habit of jumping over into Tristan’s camp. He’d pretend that he was going over for a cuddle, when in fact he was really out to steal his brother’s food! As soon as Tristan’s guard was down, Duma would grab a piece of meat and jump back over to his own camp. He knew that his brother couldn’t follow, because between them he’d inherited all the ‘devil may care’ genes.
We’ve since put a stop these acrobatic antics by building Duma his own special camp. Cheetahs have a delicate skeletal structure and their bones can break very easily, so we couldn’t have him jumping from such heights. His new camp is a lot bigger than his previous one, and we made sure it has a couple of termite mounds for him to perch on. While not nearly as high as the fences he’d grown accustomed to jumping over, hopefully they’ll go some way to satisfying his need to be above ground level.
For some strange reason Duma is also the only cheetah who seems to be irritated by his own tail. He has a habit of flicking it up and down, and then grabbing and biting it.
But idiosyncrasies aside, Duma is one friendly and loving cat. So much so it’s easy to forget that he is in fact a wild animal. When the guides are on standby early in the morning, Duma always comes to the fence to greet them with a purr. And whenever we need to draw blood or do anything to the cheetahs in the camps close to Duma’s, he’s always nearby to keep an eye on things. We like to think it’s his way of reassuring them. Click here to see more photos of Duma and our other cheetahs.