Cheetahs join action as carmaker sponsors zoo.

It may have all started when Mazda New Zealand had a new CX-5 especially covered in a cheetah decal for its launch.

Now the company has two real cheetahs as part of its lineup after becoming a sponsor of the Auckland Zoo.

Technically cheetahs Anubis and Osiris were part of the official handover this week of the two Mazda vehicles - a BT-50 ute and a Mazda3 five-door hatchback.

The BT-50 and Mazda3 are to help the zoo team with day-to-day operations and be used in field conservation work throughout the North Island.


Just like a chameleon, the two vehicles have had to change their skin to fit into their new surroundings. The Mazda3 sports fantastic images of endangered species that are sure to turn heads around town. The BT-50 reflects a selection of many animals that can be seen at the zoo - kea, elephant, zebra, tiger, giraffe and cheetah.

Glenn Harris, Mazda NZ general manager of vehicle sales and marketing, is thrilled to be supporting the zoo.

"The Auckland Zoo does a fantastic job teaching the public about the importance of caring for our wildlife and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to support them with our vehicles," said Harris.

Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken added: "Our team does a lot of conservation work in the Auckland region and, when necessary, around the country. Whether it is driving down to work with animals affected by the Rena disaster or releasing kiwi chicks into the wild, we need reliable vehicles that can get the job done.

"We are very excited to be using the new Mazda3 and BT-50 which are both comfortable and hard-working."

The BT-50 was put to good use when it picked up the zoo's latest attraction - Bo, a young female Nepalese red panda - from Auckland Airport.

No word if Anubis or Osiris had a test drive of the vehicles but as cheetahs can reach speeds of up 100km/h they'd be able to keep up with the two Mazdas in a race.