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North-eastern Cheetah exhibit at Chester 06/12/09

North-eastern Cheetah exhibit at Chester 06/12/09
Maguari, 8 Dec 2009
    • Arizona Docent
      Is this the cheetah exhibit that's in the northeast part of the zoo, or is it an exhibit for northeast african cheetahs? If it is the latter, that is very unusual and exciting. Is that the subspecies Acinonyx jubatus soemmerengi?
    • Arizona Docent
      Well, to answer my own question, I just did a check of ISIS. It appears they are indeed A. j. soemmerengii, with Chester listed as having four (in addition to two generic cheetahs). There are more of this subspecies in captivity than I was aware of, all in the middle east or England or France. Since the other English zoo that has them (Whipsnade) keeps them off-exhibit, this makes Chester very special.

      Now, since Cheetahs are my favorite animal, what will it take to get some sent here to the U.S.? ;)
    • Maguari
      Not sure about the two generic Cheetahs - think that may be an ISISism. But they do indeed have 3.1 Acinonyx jubatus soemmerringi (and Whipsnade definitely does have both).

      This is one of my favourite recent Chester exhibits; notable because for once the planting has actually taken and looks good!

      EDIT: Just thought I'd add, it's my understanding that the studbook holders for the subspecies have (or at least had) a surplus of these and were very keen on new European holders, which explains how Chester and Whipsnade were able to get multiples of these straight away.
    • bongorob
      Chester are expecting a second female Cheetah in the Spring. It was too hot in Arabia to move her during the summer. The current female is related to two of the males, luckily she is showing an interest in the male she is not related to.
    • Hix
      That's because those plants are pampas grass, an invasive weed. Each of those plumes produces up to 100,000 seeds which can drift on the winds for more than 25kms. The blades of the bush are very sharp and easily cut the skin.

      I think you'll find the keepers of this exhibit do not like having to go into it.
    • Maguari
      You may be right about the keepers, but after the near-total failure of the Jaguar grassland area I don't blame them for playing it safe with something hardy this time!
    • Hix
      They may have trouble eradicating it too!
    • Maguari
      I dunno - British winters are a test for the hardiest of plants! :D

      (not just the cold air, but the freezing/waterlogged soil! And Chester's soil is heavy clay...)
    • SMR
      There are a lot of pampas grass plants around where I live, which is also heavy, waterlogged clay soil. Once you have one, there's really no getting rid of it other than with a spade, or given the size of some of them, a small JCB. They don't spread easily though, so no chance of them colonising the zoo as would ground elder or a hogweed.
    • Zooplantman
      Well, some do look rather like Pampas Grass (although they could possibly be the similar looking Ravenna Grass), but much of what we see in the picture is Miscanthus.
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    Chester Zoo
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    8 Dec 2009
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