Cheetah Sahara and Anatolian Shepherd Dog Alexa grew up together at the Cincinnati Zoo and became close friends, proving that cats and dogs really can get along. The animals are part of the zoo’s Cat Ambassador Program, which works in conjunction with the Cheetah Conservation Fund to protect these threatened wild cats.
The programs tackle two sides of the issue: the cat ambassador program uses unconventional animal friendships like this one to teach children about the dangers faced by cheetahs in the wild. Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals on Earth, but they are endangered by encroachment on their habatat and poaching. Meanwhile, the conservation program educates farmers in Namibia and South Africa about how these special guard dogs can protect livestock from nearby cheetahs — without harming the cats. Traditionally, farmers have shot the wild cats to protect their animals.
This year, Alexa and Sahara reached the ripe age of 10 (see a more mature photo of them on this story), and new program ambassadors have emerged. One such cat-and-dog couple — Tommy T. and Pow Wow — are the current stars of the Cincinnati Zoo program. You can watch these two adorable ambassadors play together in the video below: