A French family managed to escape a alliance of hungry cheetahs unscathed after the tourists exited their vehicle to snap pictures of the wild animals — and the heart-stopping moment was caught on tape.
At first, the 3 cheetahs appeared pacifies, lounging on a patch of grass at Safari Park Beekse Bergen in the Netherlands as the family parked their auto a few feet away. A man exited the car and began to take pictures of the cats. Moments later, a woman also get out of the vehicle to set some items in the trunk, with a small child getting out behind her.
They eventually got back in their auto and drove off — seconds before one of the cheetahs took notice. The big cat began to chase the car as it drove down a grime path.
Seconds later, the video pans to the family, once again, leaving their car and climbing a small hill to take pictures of the beings. But this time, the cats were ready to pounce. A group of tourists in the car behind them, who captured the terrifying encounter on video, gasped and yelled as they watched the cats surround the family.
As the cheetahs are beginning to circle, the man operates and the woman is ensure picking up the child, stopping to stare at one of the wild cats before speedily walking away. One of the cheetahs follows closely behind, lunging at the family as they scrambled to get back inside their car.
Fortunately, the family induced it merely in time.
Park manager Niels de Wildt confirmed the authenticity of the video to Dutch radio station NOS Radio 1 News.
A park spokesman told the station guests are informed never to leave their vehicles and warned about the dangers of interacting with wild animals.
“We inform guests about the risks in several languages throughout the park, ” the spokesman told NOS.
“These people have been incredibly lucky.”
Park officials said they heard several reports about security incidents, but didn’t realize the severity of the situation until a video of the near assault surfaced on YouTube this week.
“The cheetahs are on a food schedule so they are not extremely hungry and are not in the hunt, ” Wildt told NOS. “In the first instance, they have the same reaction as when someone rings in unexpectedly, they guess, ‘Hey, something strange is happening in our territory.'”
But at the end of the day, Wildt reminded parkgoers, they’re still wild animals and people should heed the warns placed around the park to stay inside the safety of their vehicles.
“These people have been incredibly luck, ” he added.
In March, a man a man traveling on an African safari at Tanzania’s Serengeti National park had a close encounter with a cheetah after the animal jumped into his open auto. The cat spent about 10 minutes analyse the car before exiting, the BBC reported at the time.
Cheetahs are the fastest animals in the world, clocking in at speeds of up to 61 miles per hour, according to the Conservation Institute. The predators use velocity to their advantage when targeting prey.
“The cheetah is a sprinter , not a long distance runner, but pairs agility with speed for deadly assault runs, ” the organization explained on its website. “Cheetahs are also very fast accelerators, and can ramp up their velocity four times faster than human being can.”
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