Before settling in with his new family, I had the honor of accompanying him from coast to coast. Early Sunday morning, carnivore caretaker Vicki Lake drove the cub and me from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, to Washington County Airport in Pennsylvania. There, the cub and I boarded a LightHawk flight. LightHawk is a conservation non-profit that works with volunteer pilots to advance conservation, through flying animals, conservation scientists, and decision makers across North America.
The cub did wonderful on the roughly six-hour trip from Pennsylvania to Oregon. While he did not sleep much, he did allow me to feed him twice. Once we landed there was about an hour drive to Wildlife Safari. Their animal care team brought some hay from the foster cheetah family’s den placed it in the cubs’ carrier. The cub was only surrounded by people and stuffed animals for the previous two weeks. To increase his chance of foster mom, Jezebel accepting him, he needed to smell like a cheetah!
Once at Wildlife Safari, we immediately introduced the cub to his new family. For the first several hours with the foster family, he wandered around the den. Jezebel was extremely patient and continued to bring him back to the cub pile. Finally, he joined the other cubs and has been part of the family ever since.