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by: COURTESY OF Teresa Delaney, With only 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild, Run for the Cheetah raises both awareness and funds to save the fastest animal on earth.

RUNNING

Run for the Cheetah

Cheetahs are quite sleek and attractive, and when they purr, it sounds like a small engine has been turned on.

Found mostly in 26 Africa countries, the beautiful animals are not as plentiful as in the past, however, and the Cheetah Conservation Fund has been working hard in preserving the population and to educate hunters who kill them to protect livestock.

The effort to save the cheetah population will be featured locally Sunday, March 28, in the CCF's Run for the Cheetah at Portland International Raceway. Unfortunately, a cheetah will not be at the race - ambassador Taini made an appearance at PIR last week - but runners will take part in 5- and 8-kilometer runs on and around the PIR auto racing track.

It's the sixth annual Run for the Cheetah, but the first race at PIR. It had been held at The Oregon Zoo.

Interested runners can register online at www.runforthecheetah.org, at the Better Living Show at the Expo Center Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27, or on race day at PIR. Entry is $30.

The races start at 8 a.m. March 28.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund says there are about 12,000 cheetahs in the wild. It's Africa's most endangered big cat.

Donna Coe, a CCF trustee, says the group's effort is to sustain and increase the population, which could also benefit Africa's eco-tourism - people experiencing cheetahs in the wild.