As they were driving through the Netherlands’ Beekse Bergen Safari Park, a family of five made the mistake of getting out of their car. In an incredible video that was shot by another visitor, the group is seen rushing back to their vehicle with several cheetahs right behind them. At one point, they’re surrounded by the dangerous predators. The mother, carrying her small child, barely made it out of harm’s way as one of the cheetahs lunged in their direction at the last second.
What makes their decision even harder to understand, is that they knew cheetahs were there when they got out. In fact, one of the reasons they left their car was to photograph the big cats. While the cheetahs were resting at the time, it’s not as though the parents thought the area was empty. This is, of course, strictly forbidden in the park, where multiple warnings are clearly stated. Luckily, the cheetahs weren’t hungry, but instead simply protecting their territory. On top of this, cheetahs are not as aggressive as some of the other big cats, like lions, tigers or leopards.
And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. A couple months ago a man on an African safari at Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park caught a clip of a cheetah actually jumping into his open car. Similar videos have gone viral. In 2016, a woman exited her car at the Badaling Wildlife Park near Beijing, China and was mauled by a tiger. In South Africa in 2015, an American tourist didn’t even have to get out of his vehicle. He just rolled the window down, which is also clearly against the rules, to take pictures of a lion when the animal attacked.