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Behind the Scenes Cincinnati Zoo/National Geographic Cheetah Speed Project

National Geographic Magazine Editor in Chief Chris Johns has been on some pretty big photo shoots, but this one, he says, took the cake for sophistication, human effort on every front, and cutting-edge technology. He made the comment in the Cincinnati Zoo video (above) of what it took to film the setting of a new world speed record by a cheetah, the world’s fastest land mammal.


Click on the cover image for the article, photos and video about the world's fastest runner.

Sarah, an 11-year-old cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo, set the record this summer during a shoot for National Geographic’s November 2012 issue, now on newsstands. Watch the second video below to see her do it.

The filming of the cheetah’s achievement involved animal handlers from the Zoo, film crews from Los Angeles and New York, and photo experts from National Geographic including Chris Johns. The high-speed camera was moved along a 400-foot track at 100 miles per hour, shooting 1,600 frames per second.

Sarah first earned the title of world’s fastest land mammal in 2009 when she covered 100 meters in 6.13 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 6.19 seconds set by a male South African cheetah named Nyana in 2001. On June 20, 2012, Sarah shattered all 100-meter times when she posted 5.95 seconds. Her top speed was clocked at 61 mph.

The National Geographic article included never-before-seen high-speed photographs and video of cheetah movement. The video below is National Geographic’s behind the scenes video of how it was done.



  1. Jay
    November 30, 2012, 11:58 am

    Why is the second video private?