Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where Cheetahs... prosper

It doesn't take much encouragement to talk me into spending extra time at The Wilds.   After our OOS outing on Saturday, several of us spent the night and lucked into a very special tour on Sunday morning.

A tour that had me seeing SPOTS....

on the Cheetahs at the Wilds!  Rather exciting to be within yards of these lean, not so mean, carnivores.  These boys are built for speed and unlike most cats do their hunting mid-day.  Hence the black eye-stripes a la pro-football players, possibly having evolved to reduce the sun's glare.   

 As we toured the mid-sized carnivore compound, we learned that some lucky "cheetahs" do prosper.  Especially the ones living here.  Not only do they get shelters with heated concrete floors, their meals are delivered to their door.  But this is no ordinary zoo setting, it is where the Columbus Zoo has an active breeding program.  Oh, yeah.  The big cats here have plenty of room and families are kept together.  Cheetahs males live and travel with their birth brothers, forming a "coalition" where they hunt and feed together all their lives.  Females live singularly.

 POOR Steve.  This bro has some broken toes so he is healing in a facility away from his brothers, for the time being.  As soon as he is better he will return to the large area where the cheetah boys run and play.

The Wilds' carnivore guy is Juston (on the right), he has a million stories to tell of these cats and it is easy to see how much he respects and enjoys the animals- and his job.

"Bolt" and "Cecelia" are Steve's siblings awaiting his recovery in the large grassy compound.  Note the cat walks high above the fenced in area, where tourist can enjoy unhindered views of the mid-sized cats at rest and play.  I am looking forward to returning to the Wilds in the summer, where I can watch the animals at length and hope to get a gander at the new cubs that were born on Halloween!  Go here for the news story.

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