Most people would assume that cheetahs are very dangerous and majestic beasts, actually, they are incredibly nervous creatures.
Cheetah’s get so anxious that they don’t know how to socialise with each other and get too stressed to mate. It may be a surprise for you to know that this is one of the main reasons that cheetahs are becoming extinct… But there is a new solution that may very well surprise you.
Seeing that cheetahs need some more assistance, for years now zoo keepers at St Louis Zoo have been assigning these animals their very own emotional support systems.
But what could be the saviour of the cheetah species? Well… it’s dogs. No seriously, these baby cheetah’s were given puppies to play with as they grew up and raised like siblings to help them grow in confidence and social skills.
“It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,” said Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan coordinator for cheetahs in North America.
“A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs are quite shy instinctively, and you can’t breed that out of them,” explains Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
“When you pair them [cheetahs with dogs], the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It’s about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog” – and that helps them be more confident and willing to get it on.
So there you have it cheetahs, all it takes is a little bit of puppy love.