On September 22, something exciting happened: three female cheetah cubs were born at La Palmyre Zoo in France. Mom Nandi's gestation lasted 91 days. At birth, the cubs weighed between .95 and 1.05 pounds (435-480 grams). Now, at 3 weeks old, they weigh almost 4.5 pounds (2 kilos). Watch them being weighed on the video below. The cubs have also opened their eyes - the first after 8 days, the last on day 12.
This is the third litter for 8-year-old mother Nandi, and these births are very good news for the European captive breeding program of cheetahs. The species is listed as "vulnerable" on the UICN Red List. It is threatened by habitat destruction, conflicts with humans (and thus hunting), competition with other large predators, like lions and hyenas, and due to the lack of genetic diversity within the species.
The cubs father, Roucky, is 3.5 years old and was transferred to La Palmyre last spring from the Wadi Al Safa Wildlife Centre in UAE.
2012 is also the 20th anniversary of the first cheetah birth at La Palmyre Zoo. Between 1992 and 2012, the zoo has registered more than 70 cheetah births. This success rewards the efforts of Zoo Palmyre vet Thierry Petit, who implemented a specific protocol consisting in separating females from males on a regular basis in order to stimulate heats and matings.