Cheetahs in the world’s oldest zoo have upgraded their living space with artificial clay islands to simulate a riverbed.
Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna, Austria, finished the rebuild earlier this month (September, 2022).
The newly placed viewing platform and artificial clay islands should enable the vulnerable animals to rekindle their connection with their natural habitat, according to a statement obtained from the zoo on Wednesday, 14th September.
Christine Eder from the technology and project coordination team said in the statement obtained by Newsflash: “We modelled artificial clay islands to simulate a dry riverbed.
“At the same time, these islands serve as ideal viewing platforms for the animals, which can even be heated in winter.
“A new moat provides a natural barrier and offers visitors a clear view of our animals.
“The cheetahs have already taken to their new facility and seem to feel very comfortable.”
Zoo Director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck said: “In accordance with the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the landscape of the cheetah enclosure was adapted to the style of the neighboring hippopotamus enclosure, since both animal species also share a natural habitat in their homeland, the African savannah.”
Cheetahs are considered the world’s fastest mammals and can sprint at speeds of up to 90 kph (56 mph).
With only 7,100 individuals left in the wild as of 2016, the species is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
They are part of the EAZA Ex situ programme (EEP), aiming to conserve healthy populations of these animals in captivity.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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