It’s time to get moving—plan a visit through Nov. 23 to see the cheetahs before they’re gone.

Missy and Liz will be returning to their long-term home at Wildlife Safari in Oregon.

Break out your polka dots to greet the newest additions to the Woodland Park Zoo family! We’re talking about cheetahs, of course, and we’re putting the spotlight on these newest dotted denizens in an all new, temporary exhibit in the Wildlife Survival Zone. But hurry! The pair is scheduled to return to their home at Oregon's Wildlife Safari before the end of November. 


Think Fast!

Cheetahs are vulnerable in the wild and it's time to think fast to protect them!

The Species Survival Plan, a conservation breeding program among accredited zoos, enlisted our assistance to care for Liz and Missy, a pair of 14-year-old, female cheetahs arriving from Oregon’s Wildlife Safari, through November 2014. By providing a temporary home for the girls, we are able to help the conservation breeding program by creating additional space for the next generation of offspring produced at Wildlife Safari. Between the two of them, Liz and Missy have reared 15 cubs of their own throughout their lifetimes!

Look for the cheetahs in the zoo’s newly reinterpreted Wildlife Survival Zone, where you’ll discover other threatened species the zoo is working to save through breeding, research and field work, including red pandas and cranes.


Meet the Cheetahs

How can you tell apart Liz and Missy, our two 14-year-old female cheetahs? Try these handy tips!

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Born at The Anne van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa, 1999.

Personality: You’ll find her stretching out in the summer sun and watching the birds.

Physical characteristics: Liz is distinguishable by the line and dots above her eyes. She has a lighter color overall and a thicker chest.



Born at Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre in The Netherlands, 1999.

Personality: This cheetah enjoys snacking and napping!

Physical characteristics: Missy is distinguishable by the vertical stripe above her eyes and darker color overall.

Cheetah Slideshow


Built for Speed

The amazing cheetah runs in short bursts of up to 65 mph! Their bodies are perfectly adapted for speed.

Head Adaptations

  • Small, lightweight head is easy to hold steady while running
  • Short skull and large nostrils improve air supply, allowing them to breathe while holding large prey in their jaws
  • Black tear marks on their face help reduce glare

Body Adaptations

  • Flexible spine coils like a spring and launches their body like a catapult extending their stride to 26 feet
  • Large chest with lungs and a heart to match make high speeds possible
  • Black spots dotted across their fur offer some camouflage as they slink along savanna grasses, stalking prey before bursting into attack mode at high speed.

Claw Adaptations

  • Blunt claws act like track spikes
  • Textured pads act like tire treads making for great traction

Read the complete cheetah fact sheet



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