New Cheetahs arrive at Zoo

(Pittsburgh) (January 2014)—Four genetically valuable cheetahs are making their new home at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Born at a ranch in the wilds of South Africa, the two male and two female cheetahs now are spending time behind-the-scenes at the Zoo’s new Animal Care Center, adjusting to their new home and keepers.

As per Zoo protocol, all new animals arriving at the Zoo spend time behind-the-scenes which provides them with a calm, quiet place to adjust to their new surroundings. They also undergo a physical. “We want to be sure that the animal is healthy,” says Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, Director of Animal Health. “And verify there are not any preexisting medical concerns that we need to address prior to introducing new animals to an exhibit area.” 

During the exam, Dr. Sturgeon and the Animal Care Center health team will evaluate the animal’s overall condition and obtain radiographs, do an echocardiogram, administer an abdominal ultrasound, take blood, and check the animal’s vitals such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. “The first physical is the most important because it provides us with a baseline of the animal’s overall health and alerts me to any possible conditions that could arise in the future or the need to be revaluated at a later date.”

Preparation is the key to a successful animal move and Dr. Sturgeon and Ken Kaemmerer, curator of mammals, begin preparing for any new animal at least six to eight months ahead of time.

 “All of the information that we gather helps us to prepare for the animal’s arrival and determining if the animal will be a good fit with our family,” says Dr. Sturgeon.

“Cheetahs are extremely endangered in the wild,” says Dr. Barbara Baker, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. “Our new cheetahs are genetically valuable as their genetics have not been introduced into the North American population and this is an effort to help revitalize the population in zoos around the country.”

“It will be exciting for visitors to see the cheetahs this spring,” says Dr. Baker. “They are young and energetic and will provide us with an opportunity to educate our visitors and demonstrate how we can all play a part in helping to save this beautiful species.”

Thanks to John and Cathy Miclot for their support of the Zoo’s conservation efforts.



Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Members receive free admission for an entire year.


The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is open year round.  For directions, hours, tickets, and group sales information, call 412-665-3640 or visit at .  The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. For more information, visit