Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bong--San Diego Zoo's First Cheetah

The San Diego Zoo's first cheetah arrived in 1933, a gift from adventurers and Zoo friends Martin and Osa Johnson.  Osa Johnson acquired him from a Kenyan farmer, who had hand-raised him. She and Martin brought Bong back to New York with them (Osa is seen here with Bong, traveling aboard ship) and took care of him at their home--even taking him for short walks in Central Park.  Friendly as he was, though, the Johnsons knew Bong wasn't suited to being a house cat, so they brought him to the San Diego Zoo during one of their visits. He lived at the Zoo for 11 years, and he often accompanied Zoo director Belle Benchley on speaking engagements at local luncheons and education events.

Martin and Osa Johnson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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