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RIP Sarah, the World’s Fastest Land Animal

Sarah became one of Neatorama’s favorite animals, as we posted about her several times over the years. One of the cheetahs at the Cincinnati Zoo, Sarah broke the speed record for any land mammal recorded, twice. In 2009, she covered 100 meters in 6.13 seconds. In 2012, she broke her own record by covering the distance in 5.95 seconds. She attained a speed of over 61 miles per hour! She also worked as a Cat Ambassador for the zoo, visiting countless schools and making TV appearances. Sarah was euthanized Wednesday at the Cincinnati Zoo at the age of 15. Cheetahs live an average of eight to twelve years, and Sarah’s quality of life had diminished with old age. Cathryn Hilker, Sarah’s closest human, wrote a eulogy for the cheetah. Here’s a small sample of a beautiful story:

She will be remembered by thousands of school children who heard her loud purr or heard her nails clicking on the table top where she stayed during the program. My memories are imprinted in my heart and mind of a tiny brave little cheetah who grew up and turned into the elegant animal that the mature cheetah is. The claw marks from her tiny little claws when she was a cub remain on my bedspread to this day and the hole she chewed through my zoo jacket and the awkward job I did of sewing it up will remain there for the rest of my life.

Sarah was preceded in death by her canine companion, Lexi.  

(Image credit: Cincinnati Zoo)

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