The Animal Facts Editorial Team
May 13, 2023 5:00 pm
Australia Zoo, Queensland, Australia
Australia Zoo have announced the opening of their latest habitat for the cheetah – fulfilling a dream of the late Steve Irwin. For the first time in the zoo’s 53 year history guests will be able to marvel at these charismatic cats at any time of the day.
Their new cheetah grasslands habitat covers 2.5 acres, exceeding standards by 150%. Features of the habitat include open grasslands, natural waterways and a range of rocky outcrops and caves. The top of the cave will provide the cheetah with a view across the African savanna habitat where giraffe, zebra and rhinoceros roam.
Wildlife conservationist Terri Irwin said, “We couldn’t be more proud to officially open Cheetah Grasslands at Australia Zoo. Visitors can now observe these wonderful animals in their new home as we strive to educate everyone about cheetah conservation and the importance of protecting them.”
“Steve always dreamed of building a home for these majestic animals at Australia Zoo. Cheetahs are vulnerable in the wild and face threats such as poaching, conflict with humans and habitat loss. It is truly phenomenal to continue to honour Steve’s legacy and create this habitat that has been years in the making, helping us spread our important message of saving wildlife and preserving their natural habitats,” said Terri.
Australia Zoo support the conservation of cheetahs in their native Africa through partners including Cheetah Outreach, The Black Mambas and the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Cheetah outreach work to eliminate conflict between humans and cheetah through the Anatolian Livestock Guarding Dog program which places guard dogs on farms to help farmers protect their livestock.
“The future of the free roaming cheetah is the responsibility of this generation, as the next generation that follows us might not be fortunate to see these free roaming cheetahs due to intolerance from humans, and the destruction of safe cheetah friendly habitat outside of protected areas,” said Deon Cilliers from Cheetah Outreach.
At Cheetah Grasslands guests will be able to meet brothers Josh and William, were born a day apart at Cheetah Outreach and have formed a brotherly bond. William is adventurous and enjoys exploring his surroundings during walks, while Josh lovingly looks up to William for comfort and support.
Ash Sfornica, Africa Keeper at Australia Zoo said, “Cheetahs have fantastic eyesight and can see up to five kilometres away, so our cheetahs will likely spend a large portion of their day sitting up on top of their rock cave. This behaviour is natural as wild cheetahs often sit on a mount or high point and scan the horizon for potential prey and predators.”
The black mambas are the first all female anti-poaching unit in South Africa. Their work helps to protect a wide range of species.
Guests visiting Australia Zoo will be able to visit Cheetah Grasslands as of May 13th 2023.
Readily noticeable as the world’s fast land animal find out what else makes these cats unique in our fact file.
While their high speed helps them to catch prey it can also act as a disadvantage. Due to the energy needed to run at such high speeds they must rest after a kill and during this time the prey item may be taken by another predator.
Image: © Australia Zoo
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