Indianapolis Zoo opening new cheetah exhibit

May 26, 2010

The Indianapolis Zoo is set to open a new exhibit featuring five of the fastest animals on land.

The $2 million exhibit opens Saturday, with three female and two male cheetahs imported from zoos in Ohio.

Indianapolis Zoo director Mike Crowther says the exhibit was designed so that visitors can learn about the African cats and understand how they live in the wild.

Cheetah Conservation Fund founder Laurie Marker says about 10,000 cheetahs are left worldwide, making such zoo exhibits important to spread the conservation message.

The zoo's five cheetahs arrived in December to have time for adapting to their new home in an area formerly used for Australian animals such as kangaroos, lorikeets and emus.

Zoo officials hope the exhibit can boost declining attendance. The zoo drew 1.05 million visitors in 2009, down from 1.1 million in 2008. Crowds were kept unusually low on many weekends from April through October because of rain.

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