The Kansas City Zoo has acquired three young male cheetahs to rejuvenate its African exhibit.
The 2-year-olds are litter mates and arrived in Kansas City on Tuesday evening from the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas. They will be in quarantine for about a month before being placed on display.
The males will join an aging female cheetah that is the last of three sisters that came to the zoo, also from Fossil Rim, in 2007. Of those, one was sent to another zoo for breeding purposes and one was euthanized last year because it had cancer. A cheetah’s average lifespan in captivity is 10-12 years.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animal. In the wild, they eat gazelles and other hoofed animals. National Geographic reported in December the cats “are racing toward extinction”
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There are an estimated 7,100 left in the wild, a drop of 50 percent since 1975. Their numbers may be halved again in 15 years. The main threat is habitat loss.