Cheetah


Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Quick Fact: Cheetah are active during the day (diurnal) to avoid competition with larger predators that take their kills.

Learn More: visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund to learn about cheetah conservation and research in Namibia

The cheetah is a distinct and easily recognized member of the cat family. Living solitarily or in sibling groups cheetahs hunt their prey by day, employing strong eyesight and incredible bursts of speed in 60-70 mph runs to catch antelope, hares, or birds. Cheetahs, named for the Hindu word chita meaning spotted one, were once found throughout Africa and Asia living in both grasslands and wooded areas. The wild population of cheetahs is declining due to habitat loss and persecution by farmers protecting their livestock, and in many areas of Asia and northern Africa it has become extinct.

The cheetah is a priority animal program at White Oak, and has thrived under our care in our specialized facilities, with many cheetah cubs having been born here. Captive management of cheetahs has proven to be quite challenging due to their specific health, nutrition and social aspects, and specific management techniques have been implemented at White Oak to satisfy the unique requirements of this species. Collaborative research projects have been developed with the cheetahs at White Oak and at partner facilities, to help us learn about the biology of the species and better understand their needs in captivity.