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Cincinnati Zoo's Record-Holding Cheetah Dies At Age 15

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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The fastest animal at the Cincinnati Zoo has died.  Sahara, also known as Sarah, who held a world record for speed, was euthanized Thursday because of “diminishing quality of life,” according to the Zoo’s blog.

Sahara was 15.  The average age of a cheetah is eight to 12 years.

Linda Castaneda, lead trainer for the Cat Ambassador Program says “She lived a full life and was a phenomenal ambassador for her species. Sarah was the queen bee around here.  She had a very expressive face that communicated what she wanted. And we obliged. She was a dynamic individual and we were privileged to know her and learn from her.  We will all miss the princess cat."

Sahara first came to the Cincinnati Zoo in 2000 when she was eight weeks old. She was one of the first cheetahs to be raised with a puppy companion.

As part of a National Geographic special in 2012, Sahara ran 100 yards in 5.95 seconds, a world record that topped her previous record of 6.13 seconds recorded three years earlier.