MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A forceful presence for wildlife conservation has passed away at Zoo Miami.
“Savannah”, the zoo’s first ambassador cheetah, was euthanized after several months of declining health due to her advanced age. At nearly 14 ½ years old, Savannah was an unusually elderly cheetah considering that most cheetahs in the wild rarely live past 10. Zoo spokesman Ron Magill said the extremely difficult decision was made to euthanize Savannah to avoid any further suffering.
Savannah arrived at Zoo Miami (then Metrozoo) in 1998 from the De Wildt Cheetah Center in South Africa where she was captive born.
Magill said Savannah was raised to travel off zoo grounds to participate in conservation education programs in schools and other venues as part of the zoo’s ambassador program. Not only did Savannah travel to local schools, she also traveled around the country and made appearances on national and international television programs. She was also featured at a number of major fundraisers to raise awareness for cheetah conservation.
In addition, she was a star in the daily Wildlife Show presented at the Amphitheater on zoo grounds.
Magill said through her many appearances in person and through the media, Savannah inspired millions of people to care about cheetahs while raising tens of thousands of dollars in support of efforts to protect them.