The pair of male cheetahs arrived at Miami International Airport after nearly 24 hours of flying.
“These cats were cleared and put onto the next plane in 45 minutes out of South Africa, which is unheard of,” Magill, who made the trip to South Africa, said at MIA. “That’s testimony to how when people want to work together they can get things done.”
As soon as the cats arrived at MIA, they got a rock star’s welcome.
“So when I got that call I wanted to do everything I could to help our friend Ron Magill and Zoo Miami, of course,” said the airport’s director of security, Lauren Stover. “And so I made calls to Customs and Border Protection.”
From there, the cubs continued on to their final destination.
“These cats are going to become the new stars of Zoo Miami,” Magill said.
The cheetah cubs, who are about 9 months old, will be kept in a private area for about 30 days to make sure they’re healthy before they head out to the amphitheater and officially become a part of the zoo’s ambassador program.
“These guys are the new generation. They’re going to be the new stars – going to schools, going to civic groups and organizations to inspire kids to care about wildlife,” Magill said. “I want to make a connection and kids make a connection. When they look at an animal eye to eye and they see what it really is as opposed to what they’ve been told it is, that makes a difference.”