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Farewell, Yoda!

Big changes are coming to the cheetah habitat in Expedition Africa.

Although we do not breed cheetahs here at the Zoo, we do follow the recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP). The 2018 breeding and transfer plan for cheetahs was recently released, and our Zoo will play a big role.

The 2018 cheetah SSP concluded it is important that all genetically valuable individuals are given the opportunity to produce offspring. The program needs 75 female cheetahs to be placed in breeding situations. For this reason, three of our females—Bria, Jaina and Yoda will be transferred to other AZA-accredited institutions and paired with males.

Bria and Jaina will move to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX, while Yoda will return to White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL, where she was born.

Fear not, nine-year-old female Pepper will remain at the Zoo, and we will be getting three new males in the upcoming weeks! The males, all just over a year old, are named DJ, PJ and KJ and are related.

There is not an exact time frame for then these changes will be implemented, but they are expected to happen this month. There will be some time in between the departure of the females and the arrival of the males.

We are very honored to be able to play an important role in the SSP and cheetah conservation and appreciate your support in this time of transition for these beloved animals.