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Goodbye to Sarah the Cheetah, the World’s Fastest Land Animal

She once ran 100 meters in 5.95 seconds.

Sarah the cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal, died last week at the age of 15. The loss is considerable. Not only did she set the land animal speed record in 2009 by running 100 meters in 5.95 seconds—Usain Bolt, by comparison, took 9.58 seconds—but she was also just plain adorable.

A vital member of the Cincinnati Zoo family, she made countless public appearances, which went a long way in educating people about her now-endangered species. For this writer’s purposes, even more delightful was her closest friendship. Raised on farm by her pseudoparent (and founder of the zoo’s Ambassador program) Cathryn Hilker, she formed an inseparable bond with Hilker’s dog, Alexa. The pair made many appearances together, and their relationship became an attraction in its own right.

Eventually, Alexa retired, and then passed away a few years ago, leaving Sarah to perform alone. And now, Sarah’s gone, too. Watch the video above—the zoo’s tribute to Sarah—if you’re in the mood for a good cry.

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