Cheetah Winspear and Labrador retriever Amani aren’t your average BFFs. Some assume it’s unusual for cats and dogs to form close bonds, but these boys have been inseparable since the day they met. Slobbery kisses are frequent, playing is constant, napping together is the norm, and sticking by each other’s side is for life.
With fewer than 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild, the world’s fastest land mammal is racing against extinction. Winspear and Amani were brought together as babies to help teach the public about the serious threat wild cheetahs face. Winspear is an incredible ambassador for his species. Together, they’re helping the public make genuine connections to Africa’s most endangered cat.
In the wild, male cheetahs naturally form bonds with their brothers – it’s called a coalition. Born just three days apart and living together since they were six weeks old, Amani has grown up as Winspear’s brother, forming their own coalition.
Amani helps Winspear feel calm and safe in public settings, since cheetahs are naturally shy, submissive animals. Can you guess who takes the alpha role in this relationship? Yep, Amani’s the canine in charge.
These boys live together full time and travel to schools, hospitals, and events in North Texas, spurring real conversations about how to help cheetahs in the wild. They also can be seen five days a week at the ZooNorth Cheetah Encounter.
We couldn’t be more proud of the bond they have and the story they’re sharing. Winspear, who was born July 8, and Amani who was born July 10, will celebrate their second birthday together on July 11. Please join us at the Cheetah Encounter this Saturday at 9:45 a.m. as these BFFs devour their birthday cake.
And enjoy this slideshow of the duo who’ve grown up before our eyes these past two years!