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Acinonyx Jubatus

Cheetahs are carnivores of the cat family, Acinonyx jubatus. They are native to the African Southern Saraha and southwest Asia as far east as India. They are now extinct in Asia except for a small number in Iran's Dasht-e Kavir province. Population estimates vary from 2,000 to 15,000. The World Conservation Union classifies the cheetah as vunerable, with the African sub-species as endangered and the Asiatic sub-species as critically endangered.

The cheetah's method of hunting is different from other wild cats in that it runs down its prey, rather than stalking and pouncing upon them. One reason for this type of hunting is that the cheetah is one of the fastest animal on Earth. They can achieve bursts of speed up to 71 miles (110 km) per hour and are the only animal capable of running down speedy bucks and gazelles. This speed is maintainable for roughly 275 meters. In addition to bucks and gazelles, their diet also consists of impalas, game birds, rabbits, young warthogs, kudu, hartebeast, orynx, roan and sable.

The cheetah body resembles that of a greyhound and is very slim with long leg. An adult cheetah measures around 67 to 94 cm (2-3 feet) and can weigh up to 100 lbs. Cheetahs are tamable and were used for centuries in India in hunting games. The pictures above are of two cheetahs found roaming the San Diego Wild Animal Park with a keeper.