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Cheetah Race Radar

Orana Wildlife Park MEDIA RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Cheetah Race Radar

The world’s fastest land mammal, the cheetah, will attempt to evade NZ Police speed radars at Orana Wildlife Park tomorrow. The Park is launching an updated version of a previously popular experience, the Cheetah Chase, in time for Christmas. The Police have combined with Park staff to record the speed of the cats as a way of reminding motorists to take care on the roads.

Orana’s Animal Collection Manager, Ian Adams, is delighted that the popular presentation is returning: “Cheetah are remarkable animals and we want to demonstrate their blistering pace. In the wild they have been recorded running at over 100kph!

We have re-vamped our experience to create a more realistic chase. In the past, our cats ran in a straight line after the lure. Our new system is on a continuous loop so we can alter the course, make it zig-zag, go around corners and more. This means that visitors will see the cats run away and then sprint back towards them giving much better views of the cats in action.

It has been really interesting watching the cheetah get used to the system. They do not run all the time, in fact some have been frightened and growl at the lure, or leap in the air, as it moves! Other cats have chased the lure brilliantly.”

Senior Sergeant Scott Richardson says: “This is a unique way for us to remind motorists to drive safely and within the speed limits over the Holiday Period. We have had 32 deaths in Canterbury this year, many of which involved excessive speed. If the world’s fastest land mammal can’t beat our speed radar, neither can you."

The Cheetah Chase will occur daily at 3.45pm and is subject to weather and animal management considerations.

“Cheetah are a flagship conservation species for Orana. The Park has experienced repeated breeding success with these animals. To date fifteen cats have been raised to adulthood. The Park is the only New Zealand zoo currently breeding Cheetah as part of the zoo-based international breeding programme” concludes Ian.
- ENDS -

About cheetah
• Cheetah are classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union as a result of habitat loss, hunting by humans for their pelt and persecution by farmers due to stock losses.
• Unlike other cats, cheetah’s claws are non–retractable and act like spikes on running shoes to give them traction in the chase.
• Cheetah make a range of sounds – they meow, hiss, purr and chirp but cannot roar.
• Although a female may give birth to two to five cubs, the mortality rate is extremely high in the wild as other animals, especially Lions and Hyenas, hunt down the cubs and kill them to reduce competition for prey.
• People can become involved in cheetah conservation by supporting wildlife organisations like Orana Wildlife Park. Alternatively, people can ‘think globally and act locally’ to get involved in conservation by looking after the environment.

About Orana Wildlife Park
Orana Wildlife Park is NZ’s only open range zoo and is home to over 400 animals from more than 70 different species. The Park is owned and operated by Orana Wildlife Trust, a registered charitable trust, which also runs Natureland Zoo in Nelson. The Trust also owned Southern Encounter Aquarium & Kiwi House (Cathedral Square) until February 2011 when it was closed indefinitely after a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch. The Trust is committed to the conservation of wildlife diversity on this planet. Our aims, along with being dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and the welfare of our animals, are to provide education, recreation and enjoyment to the public and to support research relating to endangered animals. The Trust is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) and ZAA NZ.

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