Aug
18

Today in Smithsonian History: August 18, 1992

Cheetah family group at the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, including Amani and 11-month-old cubs on April 8, 2012. (Photo by Lisa Ware)

Cheetah family group at the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute, including Amani and 11-month-old cubs on April 8, 2012. (Photo by Lisa Ware)

August 18, 1992 The Cheetah Conservation Station opens at the National Zoological Park. It recreates the appearance of an African savanna with bunch grasses, reproductions of termite mounds and a water hole. The Cheetah Conservation Station is currently home to more than cheetahs. Zebras, red river hogs, sitatunga, and Abyssinian ground hornbills all reside here as well – along with some of the most threatened species in the world, including Dama gazelles and scimitar-horned oryx. 

The Zoo also houses cheetahs at the Cheetah Science Facility at the Zoo’s Front Royal, Virginia, campus. The facility houses cheetahs in spacious, outdoor enclosures, with indoor spaces for inclement weather. It includes an animal-care building to house animal keepers and researchers and allow them to observe, manage, and care for the animals.

The Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding and conservation program with zoos throughout North America. In the wild, male cheetahs from the same litter live together in groups called coalitions. The bond among animals in a coalition is extremely strong, and managers maintain this natural social grouping in zoos. The three males will continue to be housed together.

The Zoo’s cheetahs in Washington and Front Royal are managed as one population and will continue to move between both locations depending on breeding recommendations from the SSP, research, and exhibit needs.

Cheetah

A male and female cheetah cub born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in December 2010. (Photo by Mehgan Murphy)

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 18 August 2017
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