MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami’s newest new four legged ambassadors have arrived in South Florida.
They are two male cheetahs which were born in captivity on March 6th of this year at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre just outside of Pretoria South Africa. The facility is world renowned for its work with cheetahs and it is also the birthplace of Zoo Miami’s first cheetahs, Savannah and King George, well over a decade ago.
Savannah, the zoo’s first ambassador cheetah died in October 2011. She was more than 14 years old and had to be euthanized due to declining health caused by her advanced age.
For the next 30 days the cheetahs will be in a private area away from the public while the are examimed and once they get a clean bill of health will move to the amphitheater with the other show animals.
The new cheetahs will be featured in the zoo’s Wildlife Show at the newly constructed amphitheater, and participate in conservation education programs in schools and other venues as part of the Zoo Miami’s Cheetah Ambassador Program.
South African Airways is a founding sponsor of the Cheetah Ambassador Program at Zoo Miami.
Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill traveled to South Africa to personally escort the 9-month old cheetahs back to South Florida, first on a South African Airways flight to New York, followed by an American Airlines flight into Miami which arrived around 12:20 p.m.
“It’s been a remarkable journey…something I can’t describe,” said Magill.
“To open the crates and hear those cheetahs going ‘peep peep’. It’s like the sound I remember my kid made when he first cried…one of those sounds you never forget. They are healthy and happy. The adventure begins,” Magill added.
Once the cheetahs arrive at Zoo Miami, they’ll remain in a quarantine facility to be closely monitored and examined for a minimum of 30 days to insure they are healthy and stable prior to being introduced to their permanent home at the zoo’s new amphitheater.