Thursday, April 10, 2014


By Jamie

In South Africa we went to a cheetah rescue center (the Ann van Dyk center).  At the rescue center we learned about cheetahs and even got to touch one!  The one we got to touch was a young male cheetah. 

Petting a cheetah!
The rescue center started a cheetah breeding program in 1971.  Before that, only 100 cubs total had been born in captivity.  They have bred 720 cubs since the breeding program was started.  They even helped get cheetahs removed from the endangered list! 

Cheetahs have an oval tail that helps them with speed.  When they're running, cheetahs actually spend most of the time in the air between strides.  The fastest cheetah recorded ran... 75 miles an hour!  The cheetah was a female one; they are faster and lighter.  Cheetahs' average speed is 37-49 miles per hour.  Cheetahs hunt every 2 or 3 days.  They have 1,600 - 2,000 spots! 

At the rescue center they have another kind of cheetah called a king cheetah.  There are 200 king cheetahs in the wild.  King cheetahs can't camouflage as well.  They thought the king cheetah was a sub-species, but at this rescue center they discovered that it was not.  It was really caused by a recessive gene.  If both parents have it, you have a chance that a king cheetah cub would be born.  
King cheetah
I loved going to the rescue center, and cheetahs are one of my favorite animals!

Cheetahs being fed at the rescue center


By Jason

Lions are the largest cat in Africa.  The only cat larger than the lion in the world, is the tiger. 

Lions breed during any time of the year.  Lions mate over many days.  There can be 1-4 (or sometimes 6) cubs in a litter. 

Lions breeding in Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Lions are the only cats that form groups called "prides."  Prides have an average of 12 lions.

Lions don't have a natural predator. 

Male lions are 396-528 pounds.  Female lions are 264-396 pounds.

We also saw lions!
Female lion at Lion Park, near Johannesburg

Here are some white lions we saw.  The cause of white lions is a recessive gene.  They are a not a separate species.  Each parent has to have the recessive gene for there to be a chance of having a white lion.

Young male white lion at Lion Park

Male white lion at Lion Park

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vegetarian in India

Jamie and Jason have been doing lots of standardized testing lately, so we're catching up on posts:  here's an update from them on India.

Jamie:  In India we were vegetarian for a month. The reason we went vegetarian was that Jason challenged us to do it in PerĂº for a week, but it was hard to do in PerĂº. So we suggested to do it for a month in India because it is very easy to do there.  We decided that we could still eat some fish, because the fish is good in the south. Jason challenged us because meat is not good for the environment. (It takes more than 600 gallons of water to make one hamburger!)

It was kind of easy, but the one part that was kind of hard was not eating bacon. I ate a lot of things, like: paneer makhani; rice; naan; chapati; raita.

Jason: Being vegetarian in India was successful.  I am very proud about getting Mama, Diddy and Jamie to not eat any meat.