The Cheetah Dating Game: Duma and Pego try to save their species

Jeannie Blaylock reports. 3/14/2017

At White Oak Plantation in Yulee, Florida, a special kind of dating game is going on between cheetahs Duma and Pego.

Duma - the good-looking charmer - and Pego - the shy but interesting newcomer - are working to save their species!

That's right. The goal is babies. But it's a delicate kind of dating ritual - and one that the handlers at White Oak are hoping goes well. There are just under 30 cheetahs at the plantation, and only 7,000 left in the world.

Not a lot of people know this super-fast land animal is in trouble. But those at White Oak do.

Sophia Schuman is the lead carnivore specialist at White Oak and while she's aware of the trouble the species is in, she says she's not entirely sure what'll happen between Duma and Pego. "We never know," she explains, "is she ready? Bring in a boy today? It's a balancing act."

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She calls Duma the 'pro' of fathering cubs at White Oak. The strategy, so to speak, to get these two to mate, is to tantalize Duma - by (the slightly gross) act of having him take in her urine under a tree. 

But just because Duma is interested doesn't mean Pego is. She may be beautiful, but she's no pushover.

Romeo has some work to do.

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First Coast News will be following these two - and the staff at White Oak - as we wait and see if Duma and Pego will bring a few cubs into this world.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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