At the Olympics this weekend, everyone will be watching to see if the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, can beat his own record: 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. But Sarah would consider that a mild trot. She just clocked 100 meters in 5.95 seconds. Check out her record-breaking run: [readon]
Sarah is an 11-year-old cheetah who lives at the Cincinnati Zoo. On her latest run, she broke the record she set three years ago – 100 meters in 6.13 seconds. And she reached a top speed of 61 miles an hour while chasing a fluffy toy in a photo shoot for National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative.
(Zero to 61 in under six seconds is on a par with the BMW sDrive 28i, which can do zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds. But Sarah still accelerates faster.)
Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world. They’re built for speed. Their flexible spine allows their front legs to stretch far forward on each stride, covering 20 to 22 feet in one stride, about the same distance as a racehorse. Cheetahs are off the ground more than half of their running time. Their claws are hard and sharp like cleats, giving them great traction when they run.
Like most other big cats, cheetahs are also seriously endangered. Their population worldwide has shrunk from about 100,000 in 1900 to an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 cheetahs today. Sarah’s record-breaking achievement is part of a promotion by National Geographic to help conserve cheetahs in the wild. She’ll be featured in the November edition of the magazine.
(Note: Here at Earth in Transition, we do not endorse keeping wild animals in captivity. But we note that the Cincinnati Zoo runs a captive cheetah breeding program and has contributed $1 million to conservation programs in Africa.)