The Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA is celebrating “The
Year of the Cheetah” and great efforts are being made to prevent this
endangered animal from becoming extinct.
One hundred years ago there were about 100,000 cheetahs and now there
are only 10,000 in the world.
|Beautiful cheetah sisters|
These three beautiful cheetah sisters now make their home at the
Living Desert and can be seen on your visit.
They live in their large compound safely behind a fence that allows us
to see them without having to look thru a chain link fence.
|"Are they looking at me?"|
Most cheetahs do live alone but some live within a small
group, like this sisterhood. The cheetahs were found in India, the
Middle East and many Asian countries in years past but are now only found in
the eastern, central and southern Africa.
|"A crowd is gathering"|
The cheetah is considered the fastest animal on earth and
can run as fast as 110 kilometres per hour (68-75 mph) in short sprints. They cover more than 7 m (23’) between
strides. These girls do not have to run
that quickly and with limited spaces only get to about 30 mph on their runs,
but they enjoy their rest time between.
|Big yawn and stretch|
The markings of the cheetah include the “tear streaks” that
run from their eyes to their mouth.
Their spots allow them camouflage in the wild so they can hunt for food. This cheetah realizes it will soon be feed
time and is watching for their feeder.
|"I might as well wander over there"|
The cheetah’s stance looks intimidating but as she watches
movement in the crowd that is here to enjoy watching her run for feeding, she
is just stretching and keeping her eye out for the one who will bring the food.
|"call us when the feeder comes"|
I believe they spend most of their time lounging in the
sunshine on the hill overlooking the visitor’s path. They sleep about twelve hours a day so what
better way to enjoy the sun. The cheetah
moves so gracefully and are beautiful to watch.
The first sister is patiently sitting waiting for
lunchtime. They really pay no attention
to the crowds with all those cameras snapping but the pose looks like she
enjoys the attention. The cheetah is
very slim, their tail is as long as half their body, which helps them when they
run, and their claws do not fully retract so they give a grip.
|"I'm first to the food, not you"|
Cheetahs will try to trip their prey from behind when hunting
but we watched one sister try to trip the other when they were running for
their food. There is a person with some
food for them at each end of the run and when they hear the whistle, they run.
|"me, me, me"|
They were each given treats through the fence by a handler
but the competition showed during those few moments. Two
sisters were scrapping over their treats fighting for the others food. They were too quick to be caught on camera
doing that. Feeding time is on the schedule which makes this a great time to plan your visit.
|"I'll race you, there is more food over on this other side"|
They prefer to do their hunting in the daytime but do have
competition at times. They lose the prey
to the lion or hyenas often as they are not too aggressive. They tire quickly
and give up the hunt within a few 100 metres (328 ft) if they have not caught it. When they do catch it, they rest for half an
hour before eating.
These cheetah sisters may stay here indefinitely but if required for
breeding elsewhere, they will move. They
are well looked after and seem very happy in these surroundings and will one
day breed to help build the cheetah population of the world.
What great shots! Many of them seem as if you were on safari somewhere in Africa! Love these!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Karen. I almost felt that way myself... but safely! lol I could have spent the day watching them, so beautiful.Delete