Lucky the Cheetah championing as N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary surrogate mother
Lucky, the three-legged cheetah from the Volkswagen Golf Television commercial back in 2009, who has become a surrogate mother to many orphaned cheetah cubs that come to N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary.
Lucky’s hind leg was amputated due to irreparable damage caused by a gin trap she was caught in and despite this obstacle Lucky can been seen running and jumping in the commercial.
Marlice van Vuuren from N/a’an ku sê said that even though Lucky does not have cubs of her own as it is illegal to breed with large carnivores in capitivity in Namibia, it has became evident that she possessed intrinsic surrogate qualities, which where put to good use.
“She became a surrogate mum to many cheetah cubs and young cheetahs that came to N/a’an ku sê as a result of various conflict situations,” she added.
“Lucky brought a calming and nurturing presence and naturally looked after often traumatized cubs who had lost their mothers in a variety of circumstances, human-carnivore conflict tending to be the main factor,” said Van Vuuren.
Van Vuuren further explained that it is vital that all animals in captivity be given the most normal lives possible, with their natural behaviours being encouraged, therefore the lure system sees the cheetahs chasing a rag pulled at top speeds by a pulley system.
“Lucky loves the chase and runs so fast that the absence of her hind leg is not noticeable and quite easily keeps up with the other able-bodied cheetahs,” she said proudly.
The core of N/a an ku sê’s work is to return to the wild only those animals that are fully rehabilitated and release was not possible in Lucky’s case, because her left hind leg had been amputated.