Cheetahs in Zoos
Cheetahs in captivity should be left there, not released into the wild, and on the same note cheetahs in the wild should be left there, not brought into captivity. A cheetah in a zoo that is released into the wild may not know what to do, having been cared for by people in an enclosed environment for a number of years and then suddenly thrust out into the wild and on its own may have adverse effects on the cat's psyche, making it manic or exhibit unpredictable behaviors and endangering the wildlife already there.
Cheetahs living in captivity generally live a great deal longer than those in the wild, the life span of wild cheetahs is about 8 to 10 years, as opposed to 12 to 17 years for those in captivity according to the National Zoological Park, a sure fire sign of a healthy life. Cheetahs are also relatively easy to tame, in comparison to other large cats, and very hard to assimilate into the wild once they've become accustom to human contact (NZP), which makes one wonder if they even want to be released in the first place.
While cheetahs do live longer in captivity, they do not breed as often; Steven Hunt states that up until recently cheetahs living in captivity would only have one and occasionally two litters in their lifetime, whereas cheetahs in the wild may have up to five. In recent years, however, breeding programs in zoos have become more successful, allowing for a more robust captive population and much hope for the future of the species. By maintaining the integrity of this population, a strong gene pool can be assured while keeping hold of the prospect of future release of younger cheetahs. Since these cubs may not have been tamed and may still adapt to life in the wild with relative ease.
Another problem with releasing captive cheetahs into the wild is space. According to The Cheetah Spot, the cheetah's native habitats have been cut down to less than a quarter of what they were ten years ago. This makes release of...
Cited: Steven Hunt
"NZP" National Zoological Park
"TCS" The Cheetah Spot
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