Zoo Miami's Ambassador Cheetah Dies

Savannah traveled across the country for conservation education

By Brian Hamacher
|  Monday, Oct 17, 2011  |  Updated 12:41 PM EDT
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Fur Real: Miami Animals of 2010

Zoo Miami

Savannah the cheetah.

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Zoo Miami's first ambassador cheetah has passed away after several months of declining health due to her advanced age, spokesman Ron Magill said Monday.

Savannah, a 14 and a half-year-old who first came to the zoo in 1998, was euthanized to avoid further suffering after a long battle with advanced renal failure. 

"She went to sleep and passed away very peacefully, surrounded by the dedicated keepers who have cared for her throughout her life," Magill said in a statement.

Savannah had been born at the De Wildt Cheetah Center in South Africa and had been specifically raised to travel off school grounds to participate in conservation education programs at schools and other venues.

Magill said Savannah traveled across the country making appearances on national and international TV shows, and starred in the daily Wildlife Show at the zoo's amphitheater.

"Through her many appearances in person and through the media, this amazing animal has inspired millions of people to care about cheetahs while raising tens of thousands of dollars in support of efforts to protect them," Magill said.

Savannah was an unusually old cheetah, considering most in the wild rarely live past 10, Magill said.

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