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Cheetahs: Built for Speed — Imagine a cheetah racing alongside you as you drive down the highway at 70 miles an hour. That’s how fast this speedy cat can sprint. With a long, muscular tail for balance, flexible spine for sharp turns, strong claws and extra-long shoulder blades for long, rapid strides, the cheetah possesses many body adaptations that make it an extraordinary hunter. Unfortunately, cheetahs are in trouble, as their numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate. National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (causeanuproar.org) is helping to save cheetahs, lions, leopards and other big cats from extinction. Visit ngbigcats.org and kids.nationalgeographic.com/letters-big-cats to find out how you can contribute to the preservation of these animals. Page 24.
6 Silly Pet Tricks — Check out six amazing animals as they show off their cool tricks. Chinese water dragons Larry and Lauri recline, human-like, on matching mini-couches; Nelliebelle the pig balances her way up and down a teeter-totter; Hank the miniature donkey doesn’t settle for the sidelines when it comes to soccer; Zachary the macaw goes for a stroll on a custom-built scooter; Jesse the Jack Russell terrier does a handstand; and Nora the cat proves that her piano lessons have paid off. Page 18.
Bear Rescue — Follow the remarkable journey of an orphaned bear cub in northern Peru, who became the first rescued spectacled bear in that country to be successfully released back into the wild. The staff at Chaparri Reserve, a bear rescue center where the young animal was slowly nursed back to health, called her Milagros, Spanish for “miracles.” Page 22.
The Truth Behind the New Movie “Kung Fu Panda 2” — National Geographic Kids explores the various characters in the film to gauge how they compare with real animals. Tigress resembles an actual tiger in her powerful strength; like a real praying mantis, Mantis attacks with lightning-fast jabs and kicks; and Monkey is as fun-loving as golden monkeys in the wild tend to be. Discover more interesting facts about the film on Page 28, and check out a video on wild pandas by visiting kids.nationalgeographic.com/videos.
Wild Dogs of Africa — Learn how wild dogs are more like wolves than like your typical household pet. For starters, they live in packs led by a male and female breeding pair that can include 10 to 15 dogs. The young pups join the pack on hunting expeditions at six months old. After two years, some may break away to form packs of their own. Go online for more fun facts about African wild dogs at kids.nationalgeographic/kids/stories. Page 30.
ALSO: Check out the winners of the 2010 International Photography Contest for Kids. Page 14.
National Geographic Kids, a multitopic, photo-driven magazine for 6- to 14-year-olds, empowers its readers by making it fun to learn about the world. Its numerous industry awards include Periodical of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from the Association of Educational Publishers. Published 10 times a year, National Geographic Kids has a circulation of 1.1 million and is available by subscription for $19.95 a year and on newsstands for $4.99 a copy. Its website is at .