The cheetah is the savannah’s top sprinter and the world’s fastest mammal: it can reach a speed of approximately 100 km/hour. It is also the only felid unable to retract its claws, but instead uses the dense claws to gain better traction against the ground while running.
The cheetah weighs 30–60 kg, with females somewhat smaller than males.
The cheetah hunts on the savannah mainly during the day, to avoid competition from nocturnal predators such as lions and hyenas. As is the case with male lions, cheetah males may sometimes hunt and defend a territory together. Closely related females have overlapping territories but seldom or never co-operate.
The cheetah will outrun and kill mainly smaller antelopes, but also other small mammals, birds, etc.
Borås Zoo supports the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and its work with ensuring a future survival for the cheetah and the ecosystem. CCF was founded in 1990 and is primarily active in Namibia where 95 % of the resident cheetahs are living outside protected areas. CCF is working to change the attitude of the local people towards cheetahs through different projects, such as breeding large herding dogs who can keep the cheetahs from killing livestock.
8 cubs (6 males and 2 females) were born in Borås Zoo in February 2010. The zoo has successfully bred cheetahs before, but the size of this litter set a new record!
The mating period is not seasonal. The female is pregnant for approximately three months, after which she gives birth to up to 6 cubs. The male does not assist with the offspring. Up to 73 % of the cub mortality is due to predation by lions and hyenas.
The cheetah may live for 12–14 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in zoos.
A hundred years ago, 100 000 cheetahs could be found in Africa, Southern Asia and India. Today, no more than 10 000 individuals in Africa and a small population in Iran are all that are left. The main causes of this decline are intense hunting pressure, habitat loss due to agriculture and the natural prey species being out-competed by domestic animals.