Busch Gardens Tampa announced the names of their beautiful baby cheetah and his best buddy, a young golden labrador puppy. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Kasi and Mtani:
Both animals are appropriately named. Kasi is Swahili for "one with speed," which is perfect for an animal whose running speeds may top 60mph. As for his best friend, the pup's name means just that -- it's Swahili for "close friend."
Busch Gardens used a Facebook page poll to determine the names. Nearly 2500 people voted, and a few even offered their own suggestions (like Will and Kate). But these are the names that will stick as the two grow together and eventually move into their own fulltime habitat near the new Cheetah Run section of the park.
Guests can visit Kasi and Mtani in Jambo Junction, where you can peek into the playroom during supervised visits -- they're not allowed to have full alone time yet, since they are still a little too young and unpredictable. Eventually, the park hopes to have the furry buddies do "sidewalk visits" to help the park's education team teach about cheetahs in the wild and the hazards and difficulties these swift, beautiful, endangered cats face. Busch Gardens continued conservation efforts hope to affect change for cheetahs in their natural environments.