An African Adventure
Be captivated by the beauty and magnificence of the fastest land animal on earth when you visit our brand new experience, Cheetah Rock.
Enter the fantastic 4,000m² £1million exhibit along the main pedestrian path, which follows across the road from Lions of Serengeti and their African Village. Once you’ve crossed the road via the Cheetah Crossing a standing stone bearing the Cheetah Rock logo will welcome you in.
As you move along the path view our Zoo ‘athletes’ from an African style hut, where floor to ceiling glass will be the only thing separating you from the animals. Cheetah Rock will conjure up images of faraway places with a landscaped rock lookout and watering holes for the cheetahs.
Behind the scenes
Cheetahs have been a long-standing success story at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, where a staggering 130 cubs have been born and reared in the last 40 years. To build on this and restart our breeding programme the exhibit will also include an off-show breeding area.
Six cheetahs will form the breeding group behind the scenes and will occupy four separate enclosures. Three of these are used for our solitary females (to find out more about this and other quirky facts please have a look at our Purring Predators section) and one is used for allowing the males visual access to the female area. This introduction enclosure allows for interaction through the mesh and our keepers will observe which female is in season and which male she may be responding to. Female cheetahs are very picky and don’t fall for any cheetah man!
Indoor quarters complete the breeding area. Each female has her own four walls whereas the posse of the more sociable males share theirs.
Once there has been a successful meeting the pregnant female will reside in an area to give her privacy and comfort for rearing her cubs.
Learn about cheetahs and ZSL’s involvement with these amazing animals via the Cheetah Conservation Programme in Tanzania and curious cheetah facts that are displayed in the viewing area. If you’ve ever wondered what field conservation work is like, we offer you the opportunity to carry out Cheetah ID. Using reference photographs and a modified version of the actual software used in the field by our cheetah conservation team you will be able to ID individual cheetahs from tourist photographs send in and field sightings.
On leaving the African style hut there will be information boards explaining how researchers use ‘signs of life’ to locate animals, ID them and how often they count them. In the ‘discovery’ area you can also fast track your own knowledge of a cheetah by testing your acceleration speed on the Cheetah Sprint running strip. You can then compare your running speed against the speed of a cheetah against the same distance - and discover if you stood a chance if you were prey! This also includes a display safari Land Rover, depicting real life cheetah conservation activities in the African savannah.
The exhibit will also have strong links with the ZSL’s conservation project in Tanzania to research and better understand cheetahs to help ensure their survival. ZSL has been involved in the project, which started in 1974, since 1991.
Malcolm Fitzpatrick, Curator of Mammals, takes us behind the scenes at Cheetah Rock, for a quick preview of this fantastic new exhibit in the video below.