After months of planning and anticipation, on Thursday, Zoo Miami welcomed the arrival of the two 9-month old male cheetahs from South Africa.
The two nearly 9-month-old brothers arrived at Miami International Airport in the afternoon.
"Finally, they're here. We've been waiting for so long to see them," said Michelle Jones, who sponsored the cheetahs' arrival.
"I feel like I going to cry right now," said Zoo Miami Goodwill Ambassador Ron Magill. "I haven't slept for I don't know how many days."
Magill brought the two cheetahs back from South Africa.
"They were born in captivity, and they were both for this purpose -- to be ambassadors," added Magill.
The two cheetahs were captive-born on March 6th at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre just outside of Pretoria South Africa. Formerly known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, the facility is world renowned for its work with cheetahs and it is also the birthplace of Zoo Miami’s first cheetahs, Savannah and King George, well over a decade ago. There are less than 12,000 cheetahs living in the wild.
"We protect what we love, we love what we understand, and we understand what we were taught," said Magill. "There are no better teachers than those two cats."
The cheetahs will be featured in the zoo’s Wildlife Show at the newly constructed amphitheater.
"They're going to be open on leashes. They're going to be running in fields," said Magill.
The cheetahs will also continue the work of Zoo Miami’s Cheetah Ambassador Program by making appearances off zoo grounds at a variety of venues, including schools and civic organizations.