For Release: May 12, 2006
Sarah Taylor (202) 633-3081
Peper Long (202) 633-3082
First Cheetah Cubs Born at the National Zoo Heading West
The two male cheetahs from the National Zoo's history-making litter will be leaving Washington, D.C., next week for their new home at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The cheetahs, along with their two sisters, were born on Nov. 23, 2004, and were the Zoo's first litter of cheetahs in its 115-year history. They are being sent to the Milwaukee County Zoo as part of the Cheetah Species Survival Plan—a cooperative breeding program among zoos in North America to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population of cheetahs. The females from that litter will head to Cape May Zoo in New Jersey later this spring.
The two brothers, Damara and Askari, along with their sisters, Imara and Hatima, have been a popular attraction since their public debut at 10 weeks of age. Although they will be missed by National Zoo visitors and staff alike, their relocation is an important step in helping to protect the species for future generations. In addition to their sisters, Imara and Hatima, the National Zoo has nine cheetahs on exhibitincluding the litter of five cubs born in April 2005.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animalsreaching speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour. Once found in parts of southern Asia, the Middle East and Africa, these cats now exist in Africa, with small populations in Iran and Afghanistan. An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 cheetahs survive in the wild, where they typically live eight to 10 years.
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Note to editors: Photos of the departing cheetahs are available through the National Zoo's Office of Public Affairs