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As the weather offers up warmer days here and there, the cheetah boys and puppy girls get to go outside and play. The result? Lots of chasing, tumbling, and wrestling. Plus the occasional cheetah chirp-growl.

Actually, these kind of play sessions are an important part of growing up as a cheetah (or a puppy, for that matter). Play isn’t just all fun and games, even though the cubs and puppies are playing games and having fun. Playing helps the cheetahs practice stalking and chasing – skills that, in the wild, are vital to being a good hunter.

Playing also helps the cheetahs and the puppies bond, much like it would with human children (and adults)! Playing helps Ro, Reh, Reese, and Ruth learn about each other while they’re working off all of their energy – and as young cubs and puppies – they have a lot of that!

In the wild, male cheetah cubs from the same litter, like Ro and Reh, will stay bonded together for years – possibly even for life. Ro and Reh are very bonded to each other – that’s part of the reason the Zoo brought in Ruth and Reese; that way when the cheetahs have to travel separately, they can at least have a doggy friend with them!

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Ro, Reh, Reese, and Ruth all are being trained by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Promotions staff. Using positive reinforcement training and behavior shaping (getting treats and praise when the animals perform a command correctly), the staff works with the cubs and the pups to teach them basic commands like “sit” and “come.” The Zoo trainers also use these techniques to get the animals used to different situations and different people – this is is especially important since these precious cubs and pups are going to be on the road as ambassadors for both the Columbus Zoo and for cheetahs around the world.

Reh learns “sit”

Of course, like most students, the “kids” like to take a nap after a hard day of studying!


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Recently, Reh and Ruth stopped by the Tanganyika Wildlife Park, just outside of Wichita, Kansas. There they had the chance to romp and play, burning off some of the energy they stored up during their long car ride.

Reh goes for a run
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Ruth joins in
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Time to practice stalking …
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Got it!
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Ruth decides to check out the ball while Reh takes a breather…
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*whew* Running and stalking is darned hard work!
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On January 15, Ro, Reh, Reese, and Ruth accompanied Jack Hanna on Good Morning America. The blossoming young ones stole the show and helped Jack explain about cheetahs, cheetah conservation, and how Anatolian shepherds (like Reese and Ruth) are helping cheetahs to survive in Namibia. To see the cubs’ and pups’ national TV debut, click on this link – Where the Wild Things Are on ABC News.

The cheetah cubs and their puppy pals have had their pictures taken for their Columbus Zoo ID badges!

Ro
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Reh
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Reese
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Ruth
Her proper ID picture is coming soon. For now, here’s a candid shot –

More photos and news coming soon!

On November 20, 2008, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium became the home of two of the most adorable babies you’ve ever seen – three week old cheetah cubs named Ro and Reh (pronounced “Ray”). Born on October 28 at the Cincinnati Zoo, these tiny cheetahs came to the Columbus Zoo to be a part of the Zoo’s Promotions/Animal Encounters educational outreach department. Once trained and ready to go, these amazing babies will become ambassadors for their wild cousins worldwide, teaching people around the country about cheetahs and cheetah conservation.

 

The two brothers, now nearly 13 weeks old, are growing rapidly. They also hate to be separated – male cheetahs in the wild, especially brothers, often stay together for life. But, since it’s not possible that these two will always be able to travel together, the Zoo adopted two more adorable babies to be the cheetah’s companions and playmates. These babies are Anatolian Shepherds, sisters, born on October 26, two days before the cheetahs. So now, when the cheetahs are separated, they’ll still have a companion – just in the form of a floppy-legged, adorable puppy.

 

Reese and Ruth, the Anatolian Shepherd pups, are also littermates. They will grow to be up around 100 pounds when it’s all said and done. And, like Ro and Reh, these two pups will also be trained as education outreach ambassadors for the Zoo – and the pups, too, will help to spread the message of cheetah conservation.

 

More on that in a later post. For now, let me introduce the Zoo’s cheetah boys and puppy girls.

 

Ro — He is a lover and always wants to be held. He is dependent on the people around him and very observant. Ro’s personality seems to mirror the personality of Ruth (the puppy), while Reese (the puppy) and Reh’s personalities are more alike. Ro is short for Roho, which means “Spirit.”

 

Reh — The bigger of the two cheetahs (not by much though), Reh is more independent and adventurous than his brother. He loves to play and climb as much as he can. Reh is a little lighter in color than Ro. Reh is short for Sherehey (She-ray-hey), which means “celebration.”

 

Both cats for the most part are full of energy and very rambunctious.

 

Reese — She came to Columbus a few weeks before her sister. From the beginning she was feisty – she still is – and is protective of the Promotions office where she and cheetahs live. She barks when new people come to the office. She loves to play with her sister and is usually the ringleader of trouble.

 

Ruth — She is much calmer than her sister, Reese. She loves to be held and carried around. She was the first one to learn how to sit and does it whenever anyone walks near the treat jar. Ruth is also a little lazier than Reese – she values her naptime more than her sister does.