Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty

Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty

One of my favorite parts of the San Diego Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, was hangin’ with the cheetahs. For some reason I’m drawn to big cats, maybe it has something to do with being a Leo or possibly the fact that cats are just really cute.


Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty


Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty


I was a little bummed to find out that the lions were not around on this trip, the park was in the process of building them a bigger and better space, so I was happy to find these two cheetahs enjoying the sunshine that day.

Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty


It made me feel at ease to see these cheetahs so happy in their environment. There is only one other place besides the Wild Animal Park where I have felt like the animals are really well cared for and it shows.

Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty


I think this is attributed to the fact that the big animals have a lot of room to roam around instead of tiny little cages. The fence on this cheetah enclosure did not look very high. I wouldn’t be surprised if these cheetahs could get out if they really wanted to.

Photo Essay: Love, It Can Be Spotty


It’s really hard to know how animals are feeling, but I think you can usually get a sense about whether they are satisfied with their environment and more importantly that they feel safe.

We write posts on our site about animal cruelty, such as the elephants in Chitwan, Nepal and the dolphin slaughters in Japan, so instead of always focusing on the negative, I wanted to highlight a place that we feel is doing a good job with animals.

You may be thinking it’s cruel to cage animals no matter how big the cage is, but the reality of it is that our wilderness areas are rapidly becoming filled with humans, homes, shopping malls and whatever else our heart’s desire.

National Parks around the world that provide a safe haven for animals have boundaries as well. It may be a fence or it could be a town with people who would not take kindly to a large, potentially dangerous, wild animal roaming around.

I think it’s important to recognize the places that are doing a positive thing. In addition to making sure these animals are happy and have plenty of space, this park is dedicated to preserving and protecting rare and endangered wildlife and habitats.

Now, how can that be bad?



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  1. It’s so great that there are sanctuaries for animals such as this one! The photo is mesmerizing!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Thanks for the comment, Timmy! Glad you like the photos. They are super cute, aren’t they? 🙂

  2. Mack Reynolds says:

    Cheetahs are fast, efficient killers. I love how they appear to be like regular old kittehs, just chillin. That’s cool.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      They look really sweet in these photos. When we were at the Australia Zoo we saw a few tourists petting the cheetahs. Maybe they really are sweet. 🙂

  3. cancernurse2 says:

    Beautiful pictures. Can’t wait to see more. 

  4. cancernurse2 says:

    Beautiful pictures. Can’t wait to see more. 

  5. Andrea and John says:

    Awww – so cute! I don’t think I’ve ever seen two together up close – most zoos and parks I’ve been to only have one

  6. Technosyncratic says:

    Oh my goodness, these photos make me warm and fuzzy inside!  The pictures where one is licking the other are just too unbearably cute.

    And I’ve always been really uncomfortable with zoos (and usually avoid visiting them), but I think you do a good job of illustrating the positive aspects.  I’ll try to focus on those parts in the future.  =)

  7. I love when cats look like royalty, and the third picture here is the perfect example of that!

  8. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    Awww…very cute!

  9. I’m so glad to know that the kitties are well cared for enough that they are happy in their artificial environment. These are awfully cute photos of such marvelous animals! One cat likes to lick, and the other likes being licked; its a great partnership. 

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Haha. It IS a great partnership, isn’t it?!

  10. Adorable- the first one looks like a valentine’s day card!

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      Haha. Good call. I wonder what the card would say… “Spend some time licking each other this Valentine’s Day!”

  11. Nomadic Samuel says:

    These are lovely shots 🙂  Especially the ones of them licking each other 🙂

  12. Lovely shots. They really are gorgeous. I love the markings on their faces. Thanks for posting to Travel Photo Thursday. 

  13. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    So cute!  And good to hear this place is a safe haven for the animals.

  14. These pictures are so beautiful. Such personality! I’m partial to that first one. So sweet! Yes, it is great how much some zoos do to protect wild animals. The people who work in those places care so much for these causes. I know I’ve commented before about being traumatized by a foreign zoo. It really makes you appreciate conservation.

  15. Zoos are changing and becoming a thing of the past. Great to see that they are moving with the times. The cheetahs look so happy. 

  16. Reserve123 says:

    Adorable pictures of cheetahs. I don’t like going to zoos for the very reason you mentioned in your post, but you brought up good points. Thanks for the post and again, those pictures are too cute. Especially with the one with his eyes closed! 

    – Kristina