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Last week, “Koda,” an 8 year old male cheetah, received a thorough wellness exam as part of the Animal Health Department’s preventative medicine program.

After being immobilized in his holding area at the zoo’s amphitheater, the 110 pound cat was transported to the Animal Hospital where he underwent a series of procedures that included X-rays, an ultrasound, scoping and biopsy of the stomach, and a dental cleaning.  In addition, blood and urine samples were collected.  All of the initial results indicate that Koda is in excellent health and he has since been reunited with his brother, Diesel, at the amphitheater.

Because wild animals instinctively hide symptoms of being ill or injured so as not to expose themselves to predation or aggression, regular wellness exams play an important role in being able to diagnose any potential problems before they become too serious.  Being able to detect any problems at an early stage plays an important role in the success of any treatment which is why these types of exams are a fundamental part of the zoo’s overall preventative medicine program.

Cheetahs are considered to be Africa’s most endangered big cat with only about 7,000 remaining in the wild.  Their biggest threat is human conflict as they are often shot by farmers who consider them a threat to their livestock.  Unlike other big cats, cheetahs do not roar but do purr.  They are the world’s fastest land animal reaching speeds of close to 70 mph in less than 5 seconds.  Found in isolated pockets of Eastern and Southern Africa as well as a very small population in Asia, cheetahs are not considered a danger to humans and are often attacked and killed by other predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas. 

Zoo Miami has worked closely with cheetah conservation organizations in Africa and has provided tens of thousands of dollars in support of their efforts to protect this beautiful animal. 

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