Dallas Zoo: Black Labrador Becomes Cheetah Cubs’ Unlikely Playmate

By ABC News

Sep 7, 2013 11:40am

ABC News’ Aditi Roy reports:

Two eight-week-old male cheetahs Winspear and Kamau are the newest attractions at the Dallas Zoo. But they’re about to get an unlikely playmate – Amani, an eight-week-old Black Labrador retriever.

“The dog will be just a calming influence for those cats. There’s no danger for Amani – he’s 14 pounds,” said Sean Greene, Dallas Zoo, VP of Guest Experiences. “He’s almost twice as big as, as these guys, right now. And we are going to socialize them in a way that when they’re two years, they’re already going to have that established relationship.”

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Greene said the trio will be together 24/7.

While they’re cute and cuddly now, as all three grow sharing the same room – they’re going to start noticing some big differences.

The cheetahs are expected to grow to three feet long and weigh 140 pounds.

“About 8 months from now, these cheetahs are going to be running here at the Dallas Zoo, 50-to-60 miles an hour,” said Greene. “And, it’s going to be great to have a dog that can also show them how to run and chase and do all those things that we want those animals to do, because that’s a natural behavior.”

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ABC News

The cubs are part of the zoo’s Animal Adventures outreach program to help teach the public about highly endangered species.

“There’s less than 10,000 cheetahs in the wild,” said Greene. “So, hopefully, this education: it’s not just about seeing a dog and a cheetah, it’s about learning more through books, the internet, about how they can help wildlife and that’s really what we’re all about.”

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