Cats and dogs are supposed to hate each other, right? Well, not in the case of this dog-cheetah friendship that will ultimately last forever. Several years ago the Busch Gardens Tampa introduced an 8-week-old male cheetah cub and a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy who took on lifelong journey and friendship together.
In the beginning, the pair Kasi and Mtani, were highly supervised by staff to ensure their playing, learning and growing time together was positive and supportive. And was it ever. The two became so tight that they actually live together now full time in the park and even travel together to schools, events and television studios, helping the park’s education team reach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the importance of Busch Gardens’ efforts in conservation.
Many other Zoos have actually adopted similar such ambassador programs for their cheetah residences as well and have been successful. Dog/cheetah pairings are a specific bond that takes a while to really become solid but creates a much better situation as Male cheetahs can be solitary and territorial, but often they’ll group together with other males for support.
Importantly, cheetahs in captivity can be easily agitated and the canine company helps them to be more as ease and calm. If a dog passes away, zookeepers cannot introduce a new dog to a cheetah to keep him company. They simply would have to work to keep the cheetah calm and attended to as it lives out the remainder of its life. These bonds are incredibly special and very unique to see the different types of species co-existing in the world.