We must save the last remaining 50 or so Asiatic cheetahs, as well as those in Africa. In 1997, 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
The Asiatic cheetah, Marita, inspired wildlife conservation and melted everyone's heart. Below is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish that is based on the true story.
"I can accept my crime, but my cubs did nothing!" I screamed to the men, as they went to look for my cheetah cubs.
Fortunately, earlier that night, I spoke to my three cubs, which lifted some of my burdens. You see, my previous litters did not live long enough to get these cheetah lessons from me. I began with the story my grandmother had told me. It was about the days when cheetahs were free, happy, and ran faster than anything else!
“Child, we roamed the Earth! From the purple mountains, where the coldest water flows, down to the green plains of the monkey god, where we loved to chase their monkey tails! Later on, when the people came, they saw we were not like the lazy lions, or the leopards, who just lounged in their trees all day. That's why they named us yooz-palang, or the nimble leopard."
As I retold the story in my grandmothers voice, I imagined the time when man did not ride four wheels that could catch up with us, until I felt strong enough to venture out that evening.
“Mama is going to find us food, but the three of you have to stay inside the den. Now, if I don’t come back - it’s okay. If you should hear anything or find out that something has happened to me – it’s alright. I lived my life the way I wanted to,” I reassured my babies.
Then I kissed every spot on their each on of their heads. Every cheetah has a different pattern made up of over 2000 black patches of fur. Yet, my beloved baby girl, Marita, had more wisdom than she had spots. She sensed something was different that night.
“Mama, stop. Why are you talking like that?” I held her paws between my own, and I lowered my head so I could look straight into her eyes, which were as deep as saffron fields and sweet as honey. “Listen to me my beloved Marita. I lived the way I wanted to.”
Copyright © Lobat Asadi, Marita the Cheetah