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Abstract

Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are easily differentiated among other Felids. They exhibit unique physiological features, and their type of social structure has not been seen in any other species of Felid. Coalitions of male cheetahs are seen both in the wild and in captivity, while female cheetahs remain solitary. This paper is a compilation of a twelve-week observational study of the two male cheetahs at the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford, Florida. The focus of the study was the social structure between the two related individuals. The observational data showed that there is a lack of any hierarchy or displays of dominance between the brothers, although they do have definitive places in their enclosure that they scent-mark and patrol with virtually no overlap. The conclusion of the study is that the individuals in the study manifested behaviors that are very similar to what has been observed previously in other male coalitions, both in captivity and in the wild. These findings support to the notion that felids kept in captivity at high quality facilities are being cared for in such a way that allows their natural behaviors to be uninhibited.

KEYWORDS: cheetah; social structure; coalition; captivity

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