On June 14th, Zoo Miami welcomed the arrival of “Winston Eugene Portland III,” or “Winston” for short. Winston is a cheetah cub that was born at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon on May 9th. His full name is a tribute to the cities that played a role in his life as he traveled through in Oregon during his trip to Miami. As per the recommendation of the Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), he and his littermates have been selected to become ambassadors for their species at different zoos around the country. The Cheetah SSP is a group of professional experts that provide recommendations in the management of a species under human care to maintain a genetically diverse, demographically varied and biologically sound population.

Upon arrival, Winston was secluded in a quarantine area where he received a series of tests and exams to help ensure that he was healthy and developing normally. During that time, he was carefully monitored and cared for by a team of Animal Science and Animal Health experts as they slowly acclimated him to his new surroundings and prepared him for his future role as an ambassador animal.

We are happy to announce that Winston has now successfully cleared quarantine and will soon be making public appearances on a random basis as the staff prepares him for his role as a future star of the Zoo Miami Ambassador Team. He will be the successor to our present cheetah ambassadors, Koda and Diesel, who are getting up in age and will be looking at retirement in the not too distant future.

Through the Zoo Miami Cheetah Ambassador Program, established more than two decades ago, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to directly support cheetah conservation efforts in the wild. Moving forward, it is hoped that Winston will play a major role in the continued support of those efforts.

Cheetahs are considered to be Africa’s most endangered big cat with only about 7,000 remaining in the wild. Their biggest threat is human conflict as they are often shot by farmers who consider them a threat to their livestock. Unlike other big cats, cheetahs do not roar but do purr. They are the world’s fastest land animal reaching speeds of close to 70 mph in less than 5 seconds. Found in isolated pockets of Eastern and Southern Africa as well as a very small population in Asia, cheetahs are not considered a danger to humans and are often attacked and killed by other predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas.

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