Over the years, the Zoo and The Angel Fund have supported and participated in many cheetah conservation field projects, including but not limited to the following programs.
Cheetah Outreach is a community-based education program based in South Africa that conducts school presentations with ambassador cheetahs as well as teacher workshops. Cheetah Outreach also breeds Anatolian shepherd dogs and places them on South African farms to guard livestock in an effort to reduce conflict between farmers and predators.
The Ruaha Carnivore Project works with local communities to help develop effective conservation strategies for large carnivores in Tanzania. The mission is being achieved through targeted research and monitoring, mitigation of threats, mentorship, training and community outreach.
Cheetah (Photo: Ruaha Carnivore Project)
Cheetah Conservation Botswana aims to preserve the nation’s cheetah population through scientific research, community outreach and education, working with rural communities to promote coexistence with Botswana’s rich diversity of predator species.
With inspiration and support from The Angel Fund, the Zoo has become a leader in managed cheetah breeding. Since 2002, 59 cubs have been born at the Zoo’s off-site Cheetah Breeding Facility in Clermont County.
Cheetah and cubs (Photo: Dave Jenike)
The Zoo is one of nine AZA-accredited institutions that participate in a cheetah Breeding Center Coalition (BCC). Working closely with the Cheetah Species Survival Plan, the BCC’s goal is to create a sustainable cheetah population that will prevent extinction of the world’s fastest land animal.
The Cat Ambassador Program (CAP) educates more than 150,000 people a year about the importance of cheetahs and other wild cat predators. From April to October, Zoo guests can witness cheetahs running and other wild cats demonstrating natural behaviors during Cheetah Encounter shows. During the school year, CAP staff introduces students to cheetahs and small wild cats during assembly programs. The CAP also collects donations for The Angel Fund to support cheetah conservation.
For 12 years, Cat Ambassador Program founder Cathryn Hilker and a cheetah named Angel worked together to educate people about cheetahs. Established in Angel’s memory in 1992, The Angel Fund raises funds to support a variety of cheetah conservation projects committed to saving cheetahs both in human care and in the wild.
Recently, The Angel Fund produced a film called “The Running Wind.” Watch a clip of the film here!
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In 2012, “Sarah,” the Cincinnati Zoo’s cheetah, set a new world speed record! She first earned the title of world’s fastest of all land mammals in 2009 when she covered 100 meters in 6.13 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 6.19 seconds set by a male South African cheetah named Nyana in 2001. In 2012, Sarah shattered all 100-meter times when she posted 5.95 seconds. By comparison, Sarah’s 100-meter run was nearly four seconds faster than the world”s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, whose fastest time for the same distance is 9.58 seconds. Sarah’s top speed was clocked at 61 mph.
Each year, in conjunction with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly, the Zoo leads an international Earth Expeditions graduate course for educators to explore inquiry-based learning and engage in cheetah conservation at Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) headquarters in Namibia, which was established with support from The Angel Fund in 1994.
Earth Expeditions participants in Namibia (Photo: Dan Marsh)