Cheetahs are well-known predators. The majestic creatures hunt and kill. They’re famous for lightening-bolt speed, gone faster before you can blink. While they run wild in their natural habitat, the same can’t be said as they’re raised in zoo captivity.
No one knows this yet, but cheetahs are extremely nervous animals. Their anxiety can reach a level that makes them anti-social, even stopping them from mating. They just don’t know how to vent energy or unleash their true nature. They’re usually pretty freaked out by everything, tense at all times.
To save the endangered African big cats from extinction, specialists decided to bring in companions that would surely help them loosen up and chill. Everyone needs emotional support, and who can give better mushy loving than dogs?
"A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs are quite shy instinctively, and you can't breed that out of them," said Janet Rose-Hinostroza, an animal training supervisor. "When you pair them, the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behaviour. It's about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog."
No species on the planet is more loyal and affectionate than dogs. Which is why they teach the cheetahs to be both calm and adventurous. As funny as it might sounds, the dogs ease and protect the cheetahs while giving them crash courses in confidence.
It’s a strange partnership but works better than you can imagine. Dogs ensure long-term survival for the cheetahs by training them with lasting traits they can take forward. They’re made to meet at a young age of about 3-4 months.
"We're very protective of our cheetahs, so the introduction is a painfully slow process but a lot of fun," Rose-Hinostroza explains. "There are lots of toys and distractions, and they're like two cute little kids who desperately want to play. But cheetahs are instinctively hardwired to feel uneasy so you have to wait and let the cat make the first move."
It takes a while for them to become friends but once they’re together, they’re inseparable. They play side by side, and slowly, cheetah cubs start picking up actions and vibes from the canines. They imitate behaviour, which soon becomes their own. And the inter-species friendship only grows stronger over the years!
Who said dogs and cats can't be friends?!
Quite stellar, I’d say. After all, we’re all here to help each other. Dogs are nicer and kinder than humans anyway.
Masthead source: youtube