What would happen if you found yourself face-to-face with a cheetah? Bobby-Jo Clow encountered this exact dilemma when a cub began walking towards her Landrover while on safari at the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Instead of panicking, the photographer, who happens to double as the Tanzania Zoo’s elephant keeper, embraced the moment. She kept calm as the young cheetah climbed onto the open sun-roof, dangled its paws in front her face and sniffed her hair. Luckily, Clow had a camera handy and documented the chance meeting.
The results are crystal-clear shots of a curious cat. We see the lanky cub approach the vehicle and peer into the car, first standing on its hood before moving to get a better view. His looks of wonder and later trepidation show us that he is not completely fearless, yet really has the urge to explore. Although similar behavior can be seen in a house cat, the images reinforce that this is a wild animal. As Clow leaned forward to capture the perfect shot, the movement caused the cheetah to hiss and bare its teeth.