Posted Date: October 5, 2016
Dogs are wonderful companions for humans and other household pets - but zoo animals too?
For Animal Welfare Week, let's look at how dogs, rather than people, can improve animal welfare for other species. Did you know that there are zoos throughout the country that pair dogs with cheetahs? Read on!
Pairing dogs and cheetahs might seem like a very strange combination. But zoos are finding that giving cheetah kittens a canine companion to grow up with can have a remarkably positive impact on their confidence level and quality of life. Because they are placed together at such a young age, the dog and cat see each other as siblings and this extends throughout their lifetime.
The dogs not only provide companionship, they help to keep the cheetahs calm. Cheetahs are known to be skittish in new situations and have a tendency to bolt. The dogs' relaxed and happy demeanor in the face of new things tells the cheetahs that they are not in any danger. The dogs have also have been found to be a comforting presence during recuperation when the cheetahs need surgery or are sick.
Some examples of zoos pairing dogs and cheetahs are the Columbus Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, and the Richmond Zoo.
You can watch some adorable videos of the dogs and cheetahs together at the Columbus Zoo and the Richmond Zoo.
Dogs not only provide welfare for cheetahs in zoos but also in their own habitats. Cheetah conservation groups in Africa have been actively working to promote the use of Anatolian Shepherds and Kangal dogs to guard livestock herds. For a long time the cheetah population was in decline due to farmers and others hunting them down to protect their flocks or for their fur. Using the dogs to protect the flocks means there's no need for farmers to hunt the cheetahs down. As a result, the cheetah population is slowly increasing, and farmers are reporting a significant drop in losses.
So no surprise to us that dogs are amazing animals! They provide welfare for humans and endangered species alike.