Three cheetah cubs born at Essex's Colchester Zoo in July to parents Uria and Jack, have gotten big enough to begin exploring life outside in their habitat.
Little Milawi, the male, and Tatu and Savannah the two females, have been allowed their first steps into the grass and sun in the cheetah enclosure. At first all three were very tentative, staying close with mom at the entrance, but soon, two ventured out a bit more, though closely following mum, while the third cub shyly remained within the entrance area.
In short order, the cubs are becoming more confident and independent as they are beginning to leave Uria’s side and explore their new surroundings.
The Colchester Zoo hopes that Uria and Jack will continue to breed successfully in the future to help support the captive population of cheetahs.
Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals and catch their prey in high-speed chases of up to 60 miles per hour. In the wild they are found in Africa and in small areas of the Middle East but their populations have decreased by as much as 30% in the last 18 years. Sadly, cheetahs are now critically endangered in Iran and North West Africa and are thought to be extinct in Libya. This makes European breeding program important for maintaining the population of captive cheetahs and for providing essential education and research.