Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who says cats and dogs don't get along? The cheetah and Labrador who have become firm friends at Busch Zoo

Just the two of us: Kali the cheetah and puppy, Mtani have become close friends

While most cats and dogs couldn't stand being in the same room together for five minutes, roommates Kasi and Mtani are inseparable.

Thanks to their introduction a young age, four-and-a-half-month-old cheetah Kasi has found a friend for life in the form of a nine-month-old Labrador called, Mtani.

The pair were put together soon after Kasi was rejected by his mother at birth.

The animals' carers at Busch Zoo in Tampa, Florida, hand-picked Mtani from a local rescue centre to ensure the then four-week-old Kasi had a companion to grow up with.

'Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions.

Kali attempt to get Mtani's attention, and below, succumbs to his mate's advances to play together

'This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life,' said Tim Smith, one of Busch Gardens' animal curators.

After being rejected by his mother at birth, Kasi needed round-the-clock care to ensure his survival.

Soon after his arrival at Busch he was introduced to sixteen week old Mtani, and their friendship has blossomed ever since.

Despite coming from warring tribes, the pair are never happier than when frolicking together in the enclosure they share at the zoo.

Twice a day the unlikely due are brought out for visitors to see completely oblivious to the interest in their living arrangements.

'Kali and Mtali live together in our new cheetah run habitat. They love to play together; Mtali will chase sticks and Kali will try to steal it away from her.

'They love chasing each other around and play fighting. They are very curious, especially of the people looking at them through the glass,' said Jill Revelle, a Busch Gardens spokesperson.

Cheetahs are considered to be an endangered species and around 12,400 exist in the wild.

source: dailymail

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