Posts Tagged ‘Cheetahs’

Animals fare better in zoos as experts learn more

May 30, 2008

Scientists are learning more about how zoo animals feel and how a toy or a little training can sometimes help cut the endless pacing and other repetitive behaviours that are often assumed to be signs of distress.

Some big cats want a high perch from which to view visitors, polar bears want to scratch for hidden caches of food, and male barn swallows could use a tail extension to appeal to potential mates, according to experts from zoos and universities meeting on Friday at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Visitors who see a cheetah pacing or a polar bear swimming in circles might assume they are stressed by confinement. But they may simply be expending excess energy or soothing themselves, experts said interviews at the symposium.

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Pilot Whales Are “Cheetahs of the Sea,” Study Finds

May 23, 2008

Short-finned pilot whales off the Canary Islands race like cheetahs after prey over long distances in the deep Atlantic waters, new research reveals.

Like all whales, pilot whales need to come to the surface to breathe, but they can hold their breaths for extended periods.

Short-finned pilot whales are known to dive to more than 3,200 feet (1,000 meters), but their behavior in the deep ocean has been a mystery.

Researchers monitored the whales near Tenerife, the largest island in the Spanish-controlled archipelago (see map), by attaching tags to 23 of the animals with suction cups.

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Captured on camera: The moment a baby antelope should have run… as hungry cheetah cubs learn to kill

May 2, 2008

This is the moment two cheetah cubs finally catch and kill an impala fawn as it desperately tried to run for its life.

These amazing photographs, taken in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, show the female cheetah demonstrating to her young the vital skill of how to hunt and kill.

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Woman mauled by cheetahs in Florida

March 30, 2008

Wildlife officers are investigating after two cheetahs mauled a woman at a wildlife sanctuary in Florida.

Judy Berens, who owns and operates the Panther Ridge Conservation Center near West Palm Beach, has been hospitalized after the two animals attacked her during an exhibition Saturday[…]

The sanctuary provides homes for exotic cats.

Witnesses say Berens was alone in an enclosure with two male cheetahs conducting an exhibition when a ball bouncing nearby distracted one of the animals.

Witnesses say Berens was knocked down when the cheetah moved toward the ball. They say the cheetah then started biting and clawing her. The other cheetah attacked shortly after.

Several people entered the enclosure and rescued her.

“Anytime you work with animals, and I don’t care what it is, I don’t care if it’s domesticated animals, wild animals, there is always a risk factor,” wildlife sanctuary curator David Hitzig told WPEC. “And yes, there is a greater risk factor when you’re working with large, wild animals.”

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For another unfortunate run-in with a cheetah, read this blog post.

When Animals Go AWOL, Zoos Try To Tame Bad PR

January 6, 2008


When an escaped tiger killed a San Francisco zoo visitor on Christmas, it was the biggest blow yet to an industry that has been working hard to improve its reputation.

The problem: Some animals aren’t cooperating.

In 2007, at least 10 animal escapes from U.S. zoos generated press coverage. Fugitives include a cheetah that scaled a fence at the St. Louis Zoo, a peacock that walked out of the Denver Zoo and took up residence on the front porch of a nearby house, and a geriatric spider monkey named Rena who jimmied open her cage door at the Dallas Zoo before being recaptured.

Still at large: an African white-backed vulture with a nine-foot wing span that squeezed through a fence in Dallas. “The general feeling was that she could survive out in the wild,” says Karen Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the zoo, adding that the search is ongoing.

Most animal escapes don’t result in injuries to people, and the critters are usually captured and returned home. But zoo officials say recent breakouts have forced them to talk about safety at a time when they would rather discuss topics like improved facilities and efforts to save endangered species.

The nation’s largest zoos are in the midst of a public-relations campaign led by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums — a trade group that accredits zoos — to counter recent accusations by animal-rights groups that captive creatures are mistreated. They’re launching educational campaigns about the animal aging process, for example, to show that when an animal dies it is often due to natural causes. They’re also talking publicly about incidents, including escapes, that they might not have disclosed in the past.

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