Mr. Patel is a covetous storekeeper who wants to make Duma race against greyhounds and bet on her to lose.
He is portrayed by Kuldeep Bhakoo.
Patel offers to buy Duma, but Susan refuses. When they leave the store, Patel explains to Nigel that he has an uncle in India that races cheetahs against greyhounds, and he could become rich if he could do the same with Duma.
Meanwhile, Patel and Nigel hire Abdullah to kidnap Duma. Patel explains that cheetahs are sprinters, not distance runners. He plans to make the race just long enough that the cheetah will run out of steam. Unlike all the other gamblers, he will bet on the dogs and make a fortune. The night before Ted and Susan are to leave Africa, the three men break into the house, steal Ted’s whistle, and use it to lure Duma away.
After a tearful goodbye with Morogo, the family stops at Patel’s store to get gasoline. Patel sees the tears in Susan’s eyes and asks if she is crying over losing her pet. Ted realizes Patel could not know about Duma’s disappearance and then notices that Abdullah is wearing shoes made from old tires, just like the tracks they found around Duma’s mother’s corpse. Ted tries to convince his parents that Patel kidnapped Duma, but they insist the animal is out “exploring.”
Across the Great Rift, the children find Abdullah’s camp protected by a high fence and trip wires. They wait for nightfall before sneaking in. Along with a stack of fliers advertising Duma’s race against the greyhounds, they find cheetah skins drying on the walls. Hearing Duma’s whimpers, they enter a barn and find her locked in a cage. Susan and Ted go into a cabin looking for something to break the lock and are jumped by Abdullah. Nigel and Patel arrive and the three men argue over what to do with them. Abdullah wants to kill them, but Nigel suggests they lock them in the cage until after the race. When the men drive away with Duma, Morogo comes out of hiding. Susan, who was watching the trio, gives him the combination to unlock the cage.
Patel crows to Nigel that he has bet a fortune that Duma will lose. Duma takes an early lead in the race, but as the race progresses the greyhounds catch up, then pass the cat. Ted grabs a policeman’s whistle and blows. Hearing the whistle, Duma gets a second wind and wins by five lengths. The parents arrive just as Duma attacks Abdullah, and Earl pulls the cheetah off him. As both sets of parents berate their children for being irresponsible, the police arrest the three kidnappers.
- Patel was thought to be a friend to Duma and the Johnson family, but he was actually against them.