The Conversation: Cheetahs often don’t thrive in captivity

The cheetah population almost halved since 1975 with only an estimated 7,100 left in the wild today. Shutterstock

Cheetahs have been tamed, used for hunting and kept in zoos in countries across Asia, Europe and Africa for centuries. However, they have never really thrived under captive conditions.

Between 1829-1952 there were 139 wild-caught cheetahs displayed at 47 zoological facilities. Most of these animals survived less than a year with 115 deaths and no births recorded during this period.

Despite improvements in husbandry conditions in zoos and other captive facilities around the world, cheetahs continue to suffer from a number of unusual diseases that are rarely reported in other captive cats. These include gastritis, various kidney ailments, liver abnormalities, fibrosis of the heart muscle and several ill-defined neurological disorders.

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