Morocco Helps Save Cheetah
After the 3 hour drive to Seattle and the 4 hour wait before the flight, Morocco flew from Seattle to London, a flight just over 9 hours. In London, the most wonderful British Airways pilot asserted his stripes and surprisingly escorted me straight down below the aircraft, upon our arrival, to see Morocco, knowing that I would be unable to see him during his 5 hour layover in British Airways kennels. Morocco was calm, happy (wagging his tail), still had water left in his water bowl, and his newspaper bedding was only wet a little bit in the back of the cage.
The flight from London-Heathrow to Johannesburg, South Africa, was a flight of almost 11 hours. I did not expect to see Morocco there, as someone was to meet with Morocco for his vet evaluation and see to his connection to Cape Town (a 2 hour 10 minute flight). However, plans changed. The vet deemed Morocco healthy, but no one showed up to connect him to his flight. (I heard later that the gentleman spent hours looking for Morocco at the airport and never could find him.) So, with the nice help of a South African porter in combination with a taxi driver, including numerous trips around the airport (not within walking distance) lasting all morning and involving much paperwork and several hundred dollars in tips, Morocco was picked up from the international cargo area and taken to the domestic cargo area for his connecting flight.
Although Morocco seemed somewhat confused in Johannesburg, I was able to take him out of his cage, feed him (airport personnel were not allowed to do that, I was told), give him water, and take him for a good walk. (He did 3 huge poops while walking!) He remained calm, but I was very thankful I was there to reassure him with my presence. Boy, was it great to see Annie Beckhelling, Founder of Cheetah Outreach, in Cape Town, waiting for us. Especially since we had missed our flights, and had been unable to get ahold of her to let her know. Apparently Annie first thought she had lost Morocco when her contact there couldn't find him at the airport. Then when I didn't arrive on the scheduled flight, she thought she had lost me too! She tried calling Jim, my husband, back at home (middle of the night, of course, since South Africa is 9 hours ahead of Oregon), but I hadn't been able to contact him either in the confusion and hustle. However, Morocco and I arrived safe and sound, and were thrilled to be with Annie at Cheetah Outreach.
Stay tuned for more on Cheetah Outreach, Morocco, the cheetahs, and my wonderful visit later, as I'm still catching up from being gone!