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He was born in an endangered species breeding center in South Africa - she in a center in the Netherlands. These world travelers later met in the United States. Now like so many, they’ve come to Naples to enjoy a tropical retirement.

For the first time in nearly four decades, cheetahs have returned to Naples Zoo. 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. Long known for our husbandry expertise with felids, our staff looks forward to welcoming these elegant cats.

Their new home is in the northern gardens in an existing habitat that was modified. The cheetahs cam sit atop a small hill like ones seen on the African veldt.

To help cheetahs in the wild, the Naples Zoo Conservation Fund supports the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.



A cheetah in the Maasai Mara
in Kenya. Photographed by Larry W. Richardson on a Naples Zoo safari
hosted by Tauck and AAA Travel.

Speed at a Cost
Cheetahs can achieve speeds greater than 100 feet a second. That’s an endzone to endzone touchdown in 3 seconds! But this speed comes at a cost. Their respiratory rate climbs from 60 breaths per minute to 150, while heat production skyrockets more than fiftyfold. Unable to dissipate the heat, cheetahs must catch their prey in about 300 yards - if not, they go hungry.

Cheetah running

Cheetahs are known to achieve speeds of 70 mph (112km/h)

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.

In the Serengeti, male cheetahs live an average of just over 5 years of age. Outside the wild, cheetah infant mortality is negligible and lifespans double or triple their counterparts in the wild. Our two are in their teens.

On behalf of all who will enjoy seeing the cheetahs, many thanks must go to our donors and to exhibit sponsor Naples Daily News.

Cheetah Donors
Dr. Craig and Mrs. Kathy Fenton, Ms. Jeanne Guglielmi, Mr. Jonathan and Mrs. Nancy Hamill, Mr. John and Mrs. Paulette Kempfer, Mr. Don and Mrs. Connie Malenick, The Martin Foundation, Mr. John and Mrs. Connie Miller, Mrs. Linda H. and Mr. Robert Ottenad, Mr. Benton and Mrs. Joan Tolley, and Mrs. Linda Wheeler.



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