Cheetahs are the world’s fasted land mammal, sprinting up to 70mph. They are incredibly built for such speed with muscular legs, a flexible spine, special pads and semi-retractable claws on their feet for traction. Unfortunately, these majestic animals are considered a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list and the Endangered Species Act.
In 2014, Busch Gardens welcomed two cheetah cubs, named Tendai, meaning “thankful,” and Thabo, meaning “joy”. Their birth was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan.
In addition, Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay supports the conservation of and education about cheetahs through the SeaWorld® & Busch Gardens® Conservation Fund, which has donated over $300,000 and counting to projects involving cheetah in Africa since 2005.
How Busch Gardens Supports Cheetahs
The Busch Gardens Tampa Zoo Education and Zoo Ops teams support public education about cheetahs throughout the year. Along with Skype in the Classroom, there are many other programs that give guests the opportunity to connect with cheetahs.
The Heart of Africa Tour gives guests the opportunity to “get closer” and go behind the scenes at Cheetah Run to observe a training session. Resident campers from our camp programs work hand-in-hand with our cheetah trainers experiencing what it is like to work with these majestic animals, while our other camp participants are given exclusive behind the scenes encounters.
Busch Gardens celebrates International Cheetah Day each December. Our educators assist the cheetah trainers in making this a celebration to remember by creating fun and themed enrichment at the Animal Care Center. Along with the cheetah animal card, conservation card and a recently developed infographic distributed to science teachers across the country, guests of all ages enjoy learning about cheetahs.