Zoo Gives Cheetahs Emotional Support Dogs Because They Are Shy

July 4th, 2017

Now admittedly, cheetahs don’t exactly look like the type of animal you would want to mess with. They look fearless, ferocious and aggressive, but it turns out most of them are actually quite shy. Looks can definitely be deceiving, because zoos have reported that cheetahs were not only shy but also quite nervous and pretty anxious – too anxious even to behave normally.

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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo

The majestic animals don’t really know how to live with each other and basically co-exist together in a social manner. Their stress levels were so high that some of the cheetahs even weren’t able to reproduce. It is estimated that the total population of cheetahs will decline with more than half in just the coming fifteen years, according to National Geographic.

Cheetahs are an animal race that is unfortunately dangerously close to extinction, and their mental problems in the zoos were becoming a major issue.

Zookeepers knew that they had to do something to alleviate the problems, so they gave cheetahs their own personal buddies that they could hang around with – support dogs.

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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo

They serve as playmates for the animals and although it may sound unlikely, provide a ton of emotional support. Unlikely friends? Perhaps. But, it turns out that the idea was absolutely working.

“It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,” Jack Grisham, vice president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan coordinator for cheetahs in North America mentions to Bored Panda.

“A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs are quite shy instinctively, and you can’t breed that out of them,” Janet Rose-Hinostroza, animal training supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park said. “When you pair them [cheetahs and dogs], the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It’s about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog” – and that helps them be more confident and willing to get it on.

In the Colombus Zoo, an adorable set of pictures was taken of cheetahs with their new best friends and it’s the cutest thing ever.

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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo

In other words, cheetahs can learn a thing or two about their adorable new pup friends. Unlike cheetahs, they are quite confident and it causes the cheetah to mimic a bit of their personality, feel more relaxed and get along with the other cheetahs.

Just look at the photos below!

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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo

This is what true friendship looks like.

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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo
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Columbus Zoo Source: Columbus Zoo

Admittedly, the overly happy attitude that dogs can bring surely is infectious for us humans – it looks like the same thing applies to cheetahs as well.

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Source: Bored Panda, Columbus Zoo