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Four 16-week-old Cheetah cubs push the limits of their mother’s patience every day at Florida’s White Oak Conservation Center.

11015117_891090720941317_4709526921701788625_nPhoto Credit:  Karen Meeks

The cubs, born in December, treat mom (and each other) like a jungle gym.  But what looks like playtime to us is really “cheetah school” for the little ones.  As they climb, bite, swat, and wrestle, the cubs learn important skills that will prepare them for a life on the hunt. 

Known by all as the world’s fastest animals, Cheetahs can run at speeds of 60-70 mph to capture prey on Africa’s savannahs.  Their population is declining in the wild due to habitat loss and persecution by farmers seeking to protect their livestock.  Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Due to their unique health and social requirements, these magnificent cats are very challenging to breed in captivity, but the White Oak Conservation Center is one of the world’s most successful Cheetah breeding facilities.  Working in collaboration with zoos around the country, White Oak is at the forefront of Cheetah conservation.