Cincinnati Zoo’s Cheetah Breaks Land Speed Record Twice

Cincinnati Zoo’s Cheetah Breaks Land Speed Record Twice

Third Attempt To Set Record Comes Up Short

POSTED: 11:16 am EDT September 9, 2009
UPDATED: 1:05 pm EDT September 9, 2009

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CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio — A cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo became the world’s fastest land mammal Wednesday, not once, but twice.

Sarah, the 8-year-old female cheetah, ran the 100-meter dash in 6.16 seconds on her first attempt and then 6.13 seconds on her second attempt.

“This is the all-time great day in cheetah racing. She set the world record and broke it again,” said Thane Maynard, executive director of the Cincinnati Zoo.

A third attempt to break the record was unsuccessful with a time of 6.33 seconds.

The previous record of 6.19 seconds was set by Nyana, a male cheetah from South Africa. The fastest human on Earth is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who recently posted a time of 9.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash.

The Cincinnati Zoo used a “fluffy dog toy” on the end of a lure to get Sarah to run the race. A representative of the zoo said Sarah acts as if she is attacking a gazelle and when she reaches the toy, she pounces on it and treats it as if she has just made a kill.

The zoo said that the record applies among worldwide organizations or zoos that keep, raise or track cheetahs, but did say that Sarah’s time may be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Wednesday’s runs were held at the Cincinnati Zoo Cheetah Breeding Facility at Mast Farm in Clermont County. The breeding facility is recognized as a leader in conservation efforts, having produced 37 cubs through captive breeding. The zoo estimates the cheetah population in the wild has shrunk from 100,000 to less than 12,000 in the last century.

“It’s really great for Sarah to have the honor as the fastest in the world, but I also hope this record-breaking run helps to raise awareness of the plight of the cheetah,” said Cathryn Hilker, founder of the Cincinnati Zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program.

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