This is one of my favourite photos from the time I spent volunteering at a lion park in South Africa.
Emma the cheetah is the friendliest cat you could ever meet – friendlier even than my domestic tabby at home. She would play with everyone, wait patiently while I filled her water bowl, lie down next to me and fall asleep, all the while purring happily. Within seconds she would make you feel completely at ease being around a full grown cheetah!
But the thing I liked most about Emma was the way she took on a whole litter of lion cubs like they were her own. She would clean them and protect them and, even when they grew bigger than her, she still acted like their mother.
Here, she sits in between two of the younger cubs, Luna and Bianca, and they all look as content and comfy as can be. Just from the way Luna is looking at Emma, you can see that it doesn’t matter that they are two different species; this cheetah mum is all these lion cubs need.