Cheetahs are out

(Pittsburgh) (July 2014)—Seeing spots this summer? A condition only remedied by visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and meeting our new cheetahs as they make their debut.  

 “I think we are just as excited as our visitors to see these magnificent animals out in their new yard,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “There will be plenty of activity as our young charismatic males and females, two of each, join our more mature cat, Purdy, and explore, play, chase each other, and tumble around in the yard.”

Cheetahs are critically endangered in the wild with an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 remaining. Lack of genetic variation for mating, human-wildlife conflicts, disease, and high mortality rates all contribute to the animal’s decreasing population.

“Cheetahs at the Zoo is a great opportunity to educate our visitors,” says Dr. Baker. “Working together today to protect and conserve this animal will ensure its survival into the future.”

The Zoo’s young cheetahs are especially valuable as their genetics have not been previously introduced into the North American population and the Zoo hopes breeding will take place in the future to help to revitalize the cheetah populations in zoos around the country.

Cheetahs are beautiful cats with golden coats that are covered with small black spots. They have unique tear stripes that run from the corners of their eyes to the side of their noses.

Cheetahs are the fastest land animal with bodies that are built for speed. Their long, thin bodies and powerful legs have the ability to reach over 60 miles per hour in just three seconds. Their tails acts as rudders, steering the body through quick turns as the cat closes in on prey. When running a cheetah is able to cover up to 22 feet in one stride.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium thanks John L. Miclot, Cathy Rinchetti, and family for their generous support of our cheetah conservation work.

More information about the Zoo’s cheetahs:

Ajamu (Male): Widest face and has a small nick on right side of face in the tear stripe. Name meaning: “fights for what he wants.”

Ramses:  (Male): has the darkest and widest tear stripes. Name meaning: “Begotten by the Sun.”

Nalah: (Female): Wider, darker tear stripes than Zola. Naming meaning: “Successful, beloved honeybee.”

Zola: (Female): Tear stripe on left side of her nose curls into a comma shape, three distinct stripes on the end of her tail.  Name meaning: “Quiet, tranquil, productive”.