Cheetah Couple Retires to Naples
NAPLES, Fla., July 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Naples, Florida has been a playground for retirees for decades. Now like so many of their generation, another mature couple is following that lead. He was born in South Africa – she in the Netherlands. These world travelers later met in the United States. Now they’re coming to Naples to enjoy a tropical retirement. But don’t think you’ll find this couple in the slow lane: they’re the fastest land animals on Earth. On July 7, 2012, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is welcoming two older cheetahs to live out their golden years in the historic botanical garden and nationally accredited zoo.
Long known for their husbandry expertise with felids, Naples Zoo was chosen over other well-known institutions to care for these mature cats. In the Serengeti, a male cheetah lives an average of just over 5 years. Outside the wild, a cheetah can double or triple that lifespan. The Zoo’s two new cheetahs are already 12 and 13 years old!
With a limited number of cheetahs in the nation, there were many choices for where these two could live. “Southwest Florida can be proud the Species Survival Plan® selected our nationally accredited facility for their care,” stated Naples Zoo’s Executive Director David Tetzlaff. “Our staff looks forward to welcoming these elegant cats.”
Their new home is in the northern gardens in a modified habitat with glass viewing walls. Along with lounging in grassy open spaces or resting under shady trees including a historic Red Cedar, the cheetahs will also enjoy sitting atop a small hill like ones seen on the African veldt.
Cheetahs are well known for their speed and can run faster than 100 feet a second. That’s an end zone to end zone touchdown in 3 seconds! But this speed comes at a cost. Their respiratory rate climbs to 150 breaths per minute, while heat production skyrockets more than fiftyfold. Unable to disperse the heat, cheetahs must catch their prey in about 300 yards – if not, they go hungry.
Cheetahs are also fast eaters. And they need to be. Their lithe build is no match for scavenging lions, leopards, and hyenas. Besides stealing a meal, these predators will kill adult cheetahs and their cubs. In some areas nearly three-quarters of cubs die in the first 8 weeks of life – before they even leave the den. On average in East Africa, a mother is able to rear less than 2 cubs to independence in her entire lifetime. To help cheetahs in the wild, the Naples Zoo supports the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization cooperating in conservation programs both in and outside the wild for endangered species including offering guests a full day of fun presentations and wild cruise through islands of monkeys, lemurs, and apes. More at www.napleszoo.org or www.facebook.com/napleszoo.
HD Video and Print Quality Cheetah Images at www.napleszoo.org/press
Tim L. Tetzlaff
(239) 262-5409 ext 122
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SOURCE Naples Zoo