Video shows French tourists at Dutch wildlife park fleeing cheetahs

A group of tourists had an unsettling experience at a Dutch wildlife park after they got out of their car and were chased backed in by several cheetahs.

A video widely aired on Dutch media showed a group of four adults, one of them carrying a young child, rushing back to a car at the Beekse Bergen park as at least three cheetahs moved toward them.

The park's general manager, Niels de Wildt, told local broadcaster Omroep Brabant that the visitors made a lucky escape, "but what possessed these people is a mystery to me."

De Wildt says the park has clear warnings in several languages advising visitors not to get out of their cars while driving through animal enclosures.

"The cheetahs are on a food schedule so they are not extremely hungry and are not in the hunt," Wildt said. "In the first instance, they have the same reaction as when someone rings in unexpectedly, they think, 'Hey, something strange is happening in our territory.'"

In the video, the cheetahs appear to show particular interest in the young child, perhaps considering it potentially easy prey. 

In popular safari destinations such as South Africa and Botswana, vehicles typically are open-top. As a result, small children are usually banned from participating on safari drives as they may be unable to follow the strict rules.

Driving in an open-topped vehicle is not generally considered dangerous, as big cats consider the large cars to be a single animal and too big for them to consider prey. 

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However, passengers are always warned never to get out of the vehicle or to stand up, which may make the animals curious. 

Cheetahs in particular have a history of curiosity when it comes to safari vehicles. 

In March, a cheetah decided to hop into a car in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. The driver filmed the encounter. Nervously.

with AP

See also: 8 of the world's most unforgettable wildlife encounters

See also: Africa's most dangerous animal may surprise you

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