Fastest Mammal on Earth
by Vera H-C Chan 7 hours ago
Cheetahs always win.
Usain Bolt may get his share of million-dollar jackpots for being a world champ sprinter, but he's got nothing on 8-year-old Sarah. The Cincinnati Zoo's cheetah ambassador just beat the 2001 land-speed world record for mammals.
A male cheetah in South Africa covered 100 meters in 6.19 seconds. Sarah didn't beat that just once, but twice: She first clocked in at 6.16 seconds and then 6.13 seconds—which, by the way, bested Bolt's August sprint by more than 3 seconds. And that's from a girl who has been in captivity pretty much her whole life.
Sarah's feat helped call attention to the species' endangered numbers. According to the zoo, the spotted felines' population has dropped from 100,000 back in 1900 to about one-tenth that number. Cincinnati has been doing its part to nurture more cubs than anywhere else. Not so coincidentally, the zoo was home to another record holder: Moya, who died this past January, held the title for a year before his brother Nyana (over in South Africa) snagged it. Now Sarah's got bragging rights.
She may not rest easy for long. Zaza, an 8-year-old female in South Africa, will be throwing down the gauntlet over in South Africa when the weather clears up, either later this month or in early October. Meanwhile, here are two videos of Sarah's sprint—a quickie AP version and the Cincinnati Zoo's longer one.