The first litter of cheetah cubs to ever be born at Chester Zoo have stepped outside for the first time. Born five weeks ago, in late June, the four rare Northern cheetah cubs ventured into the great outdoors.
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals, said: “This is a first for Chester Zoo and we are delighted to say all four youngsters and mum are doing really well.” Tim added: “This subspecies is Endangered in its native northeast Africa. That’s largely because they have increasingly found themselves coming into conflict with larger predators and also farmers, as both their habitat and access to prey has reduced."
“They exist only in a handful of zoos in Europe," Rowlands continued, "and we are the only collection to have bred them in the last twelve months. So this is a great achievement for KT, her cubs and everyone here at the zoo. It’s also really positive news for the future of the species.”
The cubs are a cause for celebration not only for the Zoo but also the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), with recent ICUN estimates suggesting few Northern cheetahs now remain in the wild.Chester Zoo works in tandem with the N/a’an ku sê Carnivore Research Project to help protect the cheetahs in the wild and reduce livestock-carnivore conflicts on farmland. The project has already had success, as recently fitted GPS tracking collars have provided evidence that three male cheetahs were not involved in recent attacks on cattle.