The three cheetahs here at Wild Place Project are about to celebrate their ninth birthdays (Tuesday, May 28).
The brothers arrived at the park in 2015 to live in the Bénoué National Park exhibit. Since then more than half a million people have been to see them and witnessed their lightning turn of speed. Central African cheetah are the fastest land mammals in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 75 miles per hour in short bursts.
Will Walker, animal manager at Wild Place Project, said: “Jake, Brooke and Oscar are firm favourites with our visitors. They are remarkable animals, each has its own distinct personality.
“Oscar is the boldest, he‘s the one who will always come over first to see what food is on offer. The three of them squabble just like any brothers and they will bat each other just like cats play with toys.”
It is often said that Central African cheetahs, like those at Wild Place Project, are the nearest wild animals to domestic cats.
Will added: “They can’t roar but they purr and make meow noises just like domestic cats and they have the same mannerisms.”
The Central African cheetahs at Wild Place Project are important because they are classified as vulnerable with fewer than 2,000 in the wild. They are facing various threats including loss of habitat and prey, conflict with humans, the illegal pet trade and a gene pool with very low variability.
We are one of only four collections in the UK to keep central African cheetah. They live in the Bénoué National Park exhibit which links with the attraction’s conservation project in the wild in Cameroon, Africa, working to preserve the habitat of northern Cameroon along with its rich and threatened wildlife.