Kushki, an Asiatic male cheetah, is waiting for a response to his marriage proposal, which was delivered by his best men, four cyclists. The cyclists travelled 400 kilometres to bring the message to Delbar, a female cheetah who lives on the other side of Iran.
The cyclists at a cheetah crossing.
“We wish them health and happiness as the symbol of Iran’s wild nature”
Mohamad Gaeini, a software engineer by trade, was one of the volunteer cyclists.
Five years ago a hunter name Kushki captured a baby cheetah, which he gave to the Miandasht Wildlife Refuge. They named it after him. Then two years ago, a baby female cheetah was found, alone, and taken to Turan National Park. Ever since then, everyone’s been thinking about the possibility of their mating, and now that they’re old enough to meet, we became the messengers for this happy occasion.
I talked to many people on our way and tried to spread awareness about the fight to keep cheetahs alive. I got some unexpected responses, such as a young shepherd who told me that cheetahs are not like wolves –
they may hunt one lamb but will not kill too many of them, and therefore he is determined to leave cheetahs alone.
It was great to see that many people in the bride’s area already knew about her wedding plans. I saw a little girl go near Delbar’s fence and call to her, ‘Miss Delbar! Miss Bride!’
I hope to see their baby cheetahs soon. Myself and many Iranians have taken to social media to talk about their future, and wish them health and happiness as the symbol of Iran’s wild nature.
Along the way, the cyclists distributed cheetah-themed gifts and informational brochures. They also attended a symbolic futsal match in Bafq, Yazd province, where they were joined by celebrities supporting their cause. Next month, the Iranian national football team will wear shirts with Asiatic cheetahs on them when they play the World Cup to bring awareness to their plight.
By France 24
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