Baby cheetah makes friends with puppy: video

Taronga Western Plains Zoo takes unusual steps to socialise big cat

A Cheetah and a Puppy Are Best Friends

A cheetah cub and a puppy have become best friends, thanks to an animal welfare programme created at a zoo in Australia.

Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo recruited a puppy to help Siri the nine-week-old cheetah cub in order to help her socialise after she was rejected by her mother.

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Iris the retriever-mastiff puppy was introduced to Siri for some playtime, and the friendship seems to be going very well.

The zoo is the only one in the world to successfully breed cheetahs, and thanks to their decision to introduce her to the playful puppy, Siri is learning how to interact with other animals.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, with a slender, long-legged body built for speed. They can be distinguished from other big cats by their smaller size, spotted coats, small heads and ears and distinctive "tear stripes" that stretch from the corner of the eye to the side of the nose.

Cheetahs are included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species. In 1900, there were over 100,000 cheetahs but today an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 cheetahs remain in the wild in Africa, according to the organisation Defenders of Wildlife.

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