A family of cheetahs at an Oregon wildlife facility were allowed to chase a remote control race car last week as a form of ‘enrichment’.
The accompanying images were shared on April 2 by Wildlife Safari, a drive-through park that is home to more than 600 animals, including rare and endangered species.
“Our family of year-old cheetahs and mom Paca really enjoyed being outside for our cheetah watch time with keeper Rob driving around the car for them,” the facility posted on Facebook. “Enrichment can come in many different ways, one thing we always do is close our in and out door of our cheetah/tiger driving loop and let a single cheetah or group of cheetahs explore.
“The biggest question we always get asked is, do cheetahs have a chance to run? Although this opportunity gives them that chance, they are cats so sometimes they need a little motivation!
As viewers will notice, the Cheetahs don’t know what to make of the race car. They seem to enjoy chasing it, but don’t really want to catch or even touch the motorized vehicle.
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Most of the nearly 900 comments were positive, including one from a follower named Adam: “It just proves that cats are cats sometimes. They love to hunt and their predator-prey instinct always kicks in when the hunt is on.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet and can reach speeds of 50 to 80 mph, so an enrichment plan that allows running and chasing seems to provide significant stimulation.
Wildlife Safari, in addition to being a passing park for the public, runs a cheetah breeding program in partnership with the Assn. of the zoo and aquarium species survival plan for cheetahs.
According to Wildlife Safari, 235 baby cheetahs were born on site and “populated zoos across the United States.”