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What's best for her is to release her back into the wild. (Ted: That's exactly what we figured.) (Jean: But it's good to hear it from a game warden.) I recommend Cheetah Valley. The ecology is perfect there, it'll be easy for her to find a mate. (Ted: Cheetah Valley? See, Dad, this isn't gonna be that hard.) (Earl: Ted, it's not gonna be that simple either.) When one domesticates these cats, their hunting skills are stunted. (Susan: You mean she may not know how to be a cheetah?) Precisely. And unless she learns, she'll be in serious danger. She trusts people, but people won't trust her. If she should wander in the house for example... (Patel: Uh, excuse my intrusion, please. The distinguished professor and family have been most generous. Perhaps, I may reciprocate by relieving them of this animal.) (Susan: Thank you, no.) (Patel: If I offer $50 sterling as additional inducement?) (Earl: Come on, Larry. Let's go back to our place.) Good idea. I'll pick up a rope kit and we'll put Duma through her paces.
~ Larry explaining to the Johnson family that Duma needs to be brought back to the wild.

Duma is the titular tritagonist of Disney's 1989 live-action film Cheetah. She is an orphaned cheetah who was adopted by the two main protagonists, Ted and Susan, after the death of her mother. She is later captured by opportunistic gamblers and forced to run against greyhounds in a dog race.

Her vocal effects were provided by Joe Herrington.

Personality

Because she was brought up like a pet, Duma has no idea how to be a real wild cheetah. When she was adopted, she became very tamed and docile and loved her owners. When she was captured and trained to race, she couldn't run very fast to catch her prey, because of how she was raised. During her race against the greyhounds, Ted got his whistle back and Duma won the race after Ted blew the whistle. She then rebelled against the poacher who killed her mother before she's rescued by her owners. During her release into the wild, she was housebroken and spoiled when she wanted to stay with her owners before finally deciding to return to her home where she makes friends with another mate.

Role

An abandoned baby Duma is found by two American teenagers, Ted and Susan and their native friend, Morogo. Morogo informs Ted that her mother is dead and that she was skinned by a poacher. When Susan learns of this, she immediately wants to adopt her. Although the others think that's crazy, she thinks it's the only way for her to survive.

6 months later, while the kids are trying to reacclimate Duma into the wild, she is captured by an unscrupulous merchant named Mr. Patel and a ruthless poacher named Abdullah. The next morning, at Patel's store, Ted notices Patel's suspicion of Duma being lost and notices a similar pattern of shoe marks on Abdullah's shoes, indicating that he was the poacher who killed Duma's mother. Ted tries to convince his parents about Patel's scheme, but they refuse to listen to him. Ted explains to Susan about Duma's disappearance and they miss their flight home to prove their suspicions.

At the poachers' home, the gamblers give Duma each test for the race, to which she fails at and they starve her. Her first test involves her endurance, but after she fails, the poachers call her a lazy pussycat. She is then put in a cage and Abdullah taunts her with a bowl of meat before her next test begins, which involves trying to catch her prey, but she once again fails and is forced to go back into her box.

The children arrive at the poachers' home and find Duma. As they try to rescue her, they are caught by the poachers and put in a cage while they start for the race, but they escape with the help of Morogo. The children travel to the location of the race, only to be caught by the searching policemen roaming the roads for them. They escape and finally arrive at their destination. As the race progresses, Duma slowly loses her burst of speed and the greyhounds pass her. However, Ted manages to get his whistle back from a security guard and blows it before Duma wins by five lengths. While the other gamblers must compensate all bets, Duma rebels against Abdullah and she is rescued by her owners before the evil poacher is arrested.

Later, the family arrive at Cheetah Valley and decide to release her there. The children notice another cheetah and try to let her go, but Duma, not wanting to leave her owners, refuses to leave. Susan tells her to go and she finally leaves and makes friends as the children happily watch her go.

Gallery

Trivia

  • "Duma" means "cheetah" in Swahili.
  • She is unrelated to the 2005 Warner Bros. adventure movie Duma, which also involves a cheetah.
  • She was played by three different cheetahs.
  • She is based on Amro and Taitu from Alan Caillou's original novel, The Cheetahs.
  • Although her voice actor was uncredited in the cast, he was credited for doing the cheetah vocalizations.
  • Despite being wild animals, cheetahs are actually easy to tame and train with, hence the reason Duma doesn't know how to hunt.

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