If you follow our blog you most likely have heard of two year old Kasi, the somewhat famous cheetah that lives at Cheetah Run with his canine companion Mtani. Less famous but just as fabulous are the ladies of Cheetah Run. Our female cheetahs are all 3 years old and can be seen daily lounging on our habitat or wowing the crowds during a lure run demonstration.
Kasi shares the immediate area with the other cheetahs. They often have visuals of each other as well as constant auditory and olfactory contact, though they are never in physical contact with one another.
As Kasi has been maturing into a young adult he has been spending less and less time with Mtani, and more and more time showing us that he was quite interested in the group of young females.
As a team the decision was made to introduce Kasi to one of those females. We selected Jenna as a possible playmate for him, since she is a very easy going cheetah and gets along well with those in her social group.
The day we first put them together was nerve wracking for everyone. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was love at first sight, but we considered it a huge success. Kasi was very excited to meet Jenna, but Jenna wasn’t quite sure what to think of a zealous young male who wasn’t very fluent in cheetah body language. But, we kept their first meetings very short and positive.
We gradually increased the amount of time spent together and now, about five months later, the two are spending their days together quite often. Jenna has firmly but patiently taught Kasi proper cheetah manners and they seem to enjoy their time spent in one of our back yards or on the habitat. While they have not been out while the park is open, if you are visiting please stop by and talk to one of our trainers during one of the cheetah interactions and we’d be happy to tell you how they are doing.
We are very excited to share this wonderful success story with our guests. From a lone orphaned cub raised by humans with a puppy for a sister, to a handsome young man looking forward to the future with a cheetah friend by his side, Kasi has had quite a beginning to life!
Mtani, while providing great comfort and companionship to Kasi as he was growing up, has always been a “people K-9” at heart. We are currently exploring the best option for her. That could be continuing her role here at Busch Gardens as an animal ambassador, hanging out with Kasi when he’s not with Jenna, or going home with one of our trainers to live the life of a regular pup. Either way we congratulate her on a job well done.