April 14, 2011
Tampa, FL – The adorable cheetah cub that Busch Gardens Tampa introduced to the world last month finally has a new friend. Over the weekend the park's animal care team has introduced the 8-week old cat to a 16-week old female yellow Labrador puppy and the two have been having supervised play times together each day.
Busch Gardens plans to have the pair eventually live together and even travel together, to help the park's education team teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the park's conservation efforts.
This is Busch Gardens' first cub-and-puppy combo, but it is not uncommon in the zoological community for a single cheetah to be raised with a canine companion.
"Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions," said Tim Smith, one of Busch Gardens' animal curators. "This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life."
The pair will make their public debut at the park this Saturday, April 16. Busch Gardens will move the cub and puppy to Jambo Junction in the Nairobi area of the theme park, where guests will be able to see them at select times throughout the day.
Starting today, the public can "like" the Busch Gardens Facebook page and then take part in a poll to help name the pair. Facebook fans will then be able to vote for their favorite names until the poll closes at noon on Monday, April 18. The park will announce the winners later that afternoon.
To vote on the names visit www.facebook.com/buschgardenstampabay and become a fan of the park.
Photos courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa. All rights reserved.
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