There I was, mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram (as most people my age tend to at any given opportunity), when I came across a post from Harriet Sutlieff saying how she’d taken two weeks of work experience at Cheetah Experience, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. With working here at JbD, it only seemed fitting that I should try and find out a bit more about her adventure.
Cheetah Experience’s goal is very clear: one, raising awareness of vulnerable, endangered wild cats; two, keeping those that need protection on their conservation ground. They are currently in progress of a cheetah breeding project to help boost the population, while using DNA samples from each individual animal so that genetic diversity can be maintained throughout the species. During this process, the knowledge surrounding the health and lifestyle of the cheetah is developed further, which in turn allows us greater understanding of the cat in the wild.
Harriet commented on how she initially decided to volunteer here for a veterinary internship, hoping to see how vets act when they are placed in work with wild animals. As well as this, the trip was used to better her sense of independence. ’It was important to me,’ she says, ‘as it has proved my anxiety doesn’t control my life anymore.’
Personally, I couldn’t think of a better way to do this than flying over the equator without anyone by my side, and to then introduce myself to people that I’ve never met in person. What’s more, the experience of the work was massively beneficial. ‘It has changed my attitude towards work because hard work has beautiful rewards.’
Taking part in the Cheetah Experience has been crucial to a career plan that Harriet has set, giving her an advantage over others who want to go into veterinary lines of work including medicine, hydrotherapy, or support animals.
Zak Michaelwaite joined Journeys by Design last month as the company’s very first Digital Apprentice. A whizz at all things digital, he’s clearly a fine writer to boot. Big thanks to Zak and to Harriet. If you wish to learn more about the Cheetah Experience – or visit South Africa – please do get in touch.