Here’s a heartwarming Valentine’s Day story: Companion dogs are assisting cheetahs, which are in danger of become extinct, find love.
Cheetahs are independent loners by nature, so that’s where the canine matchmaking becomes significant. Dogs and domestic felines often live together peacefully, so apparently this extends to big cats.
As The Inquisitr has previously reported, in the wild, the cheetah population is declining at an alarming rate. Ravaged by an infectious eye disease and routinely murdered by farmers seeking to protect their livestock, the cheetah population has dwindled to just 12,400 animals spread across 25 African nations
Apparently, dogs originally got involved with cheetahs when they (particularly the Anatolian shepherd) were used to protect goat herds from cheetah attacks.
AP explains more how how dogs of all shapes and sizes provide companionship and socialization to cheetahs and eventually help them hook up:
“Some zoos are introducing dogs to calm the skittish cats and bring attention to their plight. They’re pairing ‘companion dogs’ with some cheetahs to serve as playmates and to provide the cats with guidance.
” ‘It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,’ said Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan coordinator for cheetahs in North America.
” ‘It is all about comforting and reassuring the cheetah,’ said Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park — the top U.S. breeder of cheetahs in captivity …
“The cheetahs most often found at zoos and wildlife parks are not considered good breeding candidates, they don’t relate well to other cheetahs, or they are abandoned by their mothers, Rose-Hinostroza said. But they seem to take easily to companion dogs and look to the dogs for play and example.”
There are approximately 300 cheetahs, the fastest mammals in the world, living in zoos in America.
Does it surprise you that dogs can provide effective companionship to animals and humans?
[Image credit: Jason Hui]