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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wildlife Wednesday: The Fast and the Furious

I really try to avoid hyperbole. I think it is greatly over-used on the internet and even in everyday conversation. One person I follow on Twitter (tentatively) describes every other link he posts as "Amazing!" I understand that there's a bit of salesmanship involved, but I really do think that superlative words and phrases should be reserved for those things that really deserve them. I rarely refer to something as "amazing" unless it amazed me or I think it will amaze you.
So, when I tell you to check out this amazing video of a cheetah defending her cubs from a lion, you can bet that I mean what I say.

I've had cheetahs on the brain for the last week or so. First, there's these very cute pictures on of the cheetah cubs recently born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and, second, my friend Randy Diamon, a local actor here in Denver, told me about his favorite charity organization, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, which I wrote about recently on my other blog.
Cheetahs are among the smaller of the big cats. They're built for speed rather than brawn, and they can hit speeds of up to 70 mph.

There are an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 in Africa and maybe about 200 living in small populations in Iran. Outside of captivity, that's it - bringing the cheetah population down about 88-90% from what it was a century ago.
Luckily there are organizations like the Cheetah Conservation Fund and Defenders of Wildlife working to preserve cheetah populations in their native habitat. You can visit their respective websites to see what they are doing and how you can help.
Here's one more cheetah video - a cute one this time. Cheetah cubs learn to hunt from their mothers, but how do you teach orphaned cheetah cubs to hunt?
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