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It's Winter In Australia, But Spring Is In The Air

Cheetah Cub - face

It may be winter in Australia, but Monarto Zoo got a taste of Spring on June 2 when it welcomed its first Cheetah cub in several years. Keepers were surprised by the birth because recent pregnancy tests on mother Nakula came up negative. Anna Bennet, Team Leader of Carnivores, said the cub stayed with Mom until keepers decided it was best to hand raise her.

“Normally it’s very rare for Cheetah to raise a single cub as mum tends to not produce enough milk to feed just one,” Anna said.

“It’s hard to say why this happens, however the recommendations we’ve had from other institutions indicate that a single cub has the best chance of survival if it is hand-raised.

“Most importantly she’s strong, healthy and very cute! Our only problem now is deciding who gets to take care of the little fluff ball as she needs feeding every few hours.”

Cheetah Cub - full body

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Zoos South Australia Head of Life Sciences, Peter Clark, said the little cub will act as an ambassador for its species educating Australians on the plight of Cheetahs in the wild.

“In the last 35 years we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population. Currently there are approximately 7,500 Cheetah left in the wild whereas in the mid 1970s the population was estimated to be around 15,000,” Peter said.

“The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetahs to protect livestock against predation.”

Monarto’s little cub is not yet on public display, however it’s hoped visitors will get the chance to meet her in the not to distant future. Mum Nakula was born at Monarto Zoo in 2003. Dad Jala was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in 2000 and arrived at Monarto Zoo in 2010.