Sunday, April 29, 2012
A cheetah and a dog - friends at Busch Gardens
Watch the video, then read the story here: interspecies friendship . I'm not a fan of zoos or tourist attractions with animals on display. This is not an endorsement of Busch Gardens or other facilities like them. I would like to get your thoughts on this.
Cheetahs, as adults, are generally solitary animals. I will grant that if there are two male cubs who survive to adulthood, they have been known to stay together once they leave their mother to find their own territory. In most instances, however, cheetahs are lone predators.
Since Kasi, the cheetah, was not raised with his mother or other cheetahs, I doubt he knows what he looks like. That said, I don't see any reason why he won't continue to accept the dog as his lifetime companion. Of course, once Kasi reaches sexual maturity and if he smells some enticing lady scents in the air, his behavior could change.
I don't know for a fact that Busch Gardens does not feed live prey to their predators, but I doubt that they do. Add to that the fact that feline cubs/kittens are taught to hunt and kill their prey by their mothers, Kasi isn't likely to have much of a grasp on the essentials of hunting, since he never got those instructions. That should further bode well for this unusual relationship. Certainly having a companion beats living your life in solitary confinement in a manufactured habitat. Hopefully, the veterinary staff will make sure that both animals are up to date on routine vaccines. There are many diseases that both felines and canines share - most notably distemper.
The primary problem, other than the captivity issue, that I have is the segment in the video of the caretaker touching and petting Kasi as if he is a domesticated animal. That could lead to a tragic incident. I honestly cannot believe the caretaker did that, especially in front of a camera.
What are your thoughts?