Working close to wildlife has it’s risks, but it can be extremely rewarding, especially when you are photographing them.
It can be hard work and time-consuming to get that perfect shot, so it’s no surprise that a quick afternoon nap is sometimes needed.
When Dolph Volker needed a quick siesta while working on photographing cheetahs, he woke up to quite the surprise!
Dolph volunteers at the Cheetah Experience in South Africa, where they preserve the population of these majestic big cats.
Cheetahs don’t like human interaction too much – they are surprisingly shy and usually prefer to keep their distance.
However, Dolph has been working for months to win them over and have them feeling comfortable around him, and clearly his hard work paid off.
During one of his trips working tirelessly all day in the hot sun, he decided to take break and have a quick nap under a tree. From a distance, a cheetah named Eden spotted him sleeping.
Eden made her way over to Dolph, sniffed him, and then nestled in with him for a cuddle.
Dolph got the most pleasant surprise when he woke up to find Eden next to him, and this became the start of their beautiful friendship.
Eden treats Dolph as if he was of the same species, cuddling and nibbling him, and always keen to snuggle up.
Off the back of winning Eden over, Dolph has now been given the nickname “The Cheetah Whisperer” and he spends most of his time in the company of his favorite animals. What a dream come true!