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Shannon Wild - Cheetah Attack

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Published on Nov 23, 2016

A couple of years ago I was mauled by a cheetah. I will not disclose the exact location or facility where this happened since it is in no way their fault. She is extremely well cared for and this happened as a result of my own complacency. Read further to find out what happened . . .

This happened in a controlled environment with an animal that is used to humans, however she had given clear body language and signs that she was hot, bothered and potentially uncooperative. We were there to film and photograph a running sequence, which involved her chasing a moving ribbon if she wishes. It was a very hot November morning and this happened before we were able to get started. I was so distracted with making plans on how to set up the shot that I completely ignored the vibe she was giving off and I foolishly knelt down to show one of her carers where I wanted to shoot from, she took her opportunity and the rest is history. I was complacent and this was a big wake up call for me and I have much more admiration and respect for cheetah now, they are often underestimated. One of the reasons I love wildlife so much is because they run on pure instinct. She was simply doing what she was designed to do.

Instinct told me to relax and not fight it, which was the best thing to do in this situation as fighting her would have led to worse injuries, and of course I had people around me to help so I didn’t need to do anything. She came at me from behind and latched onto my arm thinking it was my throat, she had gone for a typical kill manoeuvre. Luckily my head was tilted with my ear against my shoulder as I took a portrait photo in the opposite direction. My hair was out and so from her view she thought my neck should be where my arm was, it likely saved my life. She crushed my muscle, nerves and tendons but thankfully didn’t break the bone, only scraped it. She held on for around 20 seconds before they were able to get her off.

I wasn’t able to shoot for 2 months as it heeled and I still have regular nerve pain. I don’t have complete flexibility in my left arm but for the most part it’s fine and it could have been so much worse. She bruised my ribs and punctured my side in two places from her dew claw as she pinned me down, at the time I didn’t even feel these happening.

The bite itself was not painful as adrenaline kicked in. All I felt while she was on me was immense pressure like my arm was going to explode, but not any sharp pain . . . that came later once the blood began flowing back to the bite area.

Cheetah are incredible hunters and such beautiful cats that deserve our protection and adoration. Sadly they are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN with less than 7,000 individuals believed to be left in the wild. There are many excellent organisations that are working hard to conserve cheetah not only in their natural habitat but also through education and breeding programs to assist in maintaining genetic diversity.

WEBSITE: https://www.shannonwild.com
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/Shannon__Wild
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ShannonWild
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Shannon__Wild

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