We must save the last remaining 50 or so Asiatic cheetahs, as well as those in Africa. In 1995, my father, Hormoz Asadi, saved a cub. He named her Marita. She became the first Asiatic cheetah in captivity and triggered wildlife conservation. She taught us about hope, and what it means to be one of the last of a species
In Iran, our last patch of land, the lions are all gone and the palang, are Persian leopards, who are not far behind. I consider myself lucky that I was able to tell my cheetah cubs, Marita, Ramin and Farzin, all about our kind.
“Once we ran all the way from the purple mountains down to where the monkeys reside. We loooved to chase their tails until the cheetahs and monkeys would collide! "
That night, I gave my babies all of the extra purrs and chirps I had in me. None of my other cheetah cubs had lived long enough to get these cheetah lessons of mine!
"When people moved on our land, they saw we were not like the lazy lions or the lounging leopards. That's why they named us yooz-palang! We are the nimble leopards - we are one of a kind!"
I gave my cubs a few more lessons, as I licked each one of their sweet faces down to the tip of their striped tails - until all of their 2000 spots had a lovely shine! I was the proudest mama cheetah that had ever lived on the mountainside.
As I tucked them into the tall grass to sleep, away from anyone's eyes, I let out a half-purr, half-cry. Food was so hard to come by since mankind. All the rabbits and deer were gone, so I had to hunt in unfamiliar places, in order for us to survive.
Copyright © Lobat Asadi, Marita the Cheetah