Captive Cheetahs Taught To Hunt By Playing Soccer

  • Rick Chandler

The cheetahs, raised at a South African game lodge since they were cubs, are scheduled to be released back into the wild with new mad hunting skills — taught, in part, by chasing around a soccer ball. They will be the only gazelle hunts with flopping.

Kim and Hein Schoeman used a plastic soccer ball to train the cheetahs at the Garden Route Game Lodge. First they taught them the basics of chasing prey by rolling the soccer ball down a hill and having the cheetahs chase it. Then came ambush lessons.

At two and a half years old the cheetahs will be fully grown (twice their current size) and it is hoped they will have developed enough successful hunting skills to be released.

Despite their ability to accelerate up to speeds of 120 kilometres per hour in short spurts, cheetahs are ambush predators, they trick their prey rather than chase them in a straight line.

Just like Messi!

Photo: Caters News Agency.