Rare Litter of Cheetahs Born at Allwetterzoo Münster

1_Namoja + 1,6 Jungtiere_presse

Allwetterzoo Münster’s resident Cheetah, Namoja, gave birth to a remarkable litter of seven cubs on April 28. Affectionately known by zoo staff as “The Magnificent Seven” and the “Seven Dwarfs”, Namoja’s large litter is somewhat rare. Cheetahs typically give birth to three to five cubs. 

2_Namoja + Jungtier_presse

3_Namoja trägt Jungtier_presse

4_11536513_10155689525985263_3091912715508834970_oPhoto Credits: Allwetterzoo Münster

This is the second litter for Namoja and her mate, Jabari. Their first group of offspring was a litter of five male cubs, and all of the boys are now at home in other zoos, throughout Europe, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).  Since the 1970s, Alwetterzoo has welcomed forty Cheetah births.

The Cheetah is a large member of the family Felidae and is native to Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. Aside from its distinctive coat pattern, the Cheetah is well known for its athletic prowess. It can run faster than any other land animal and has been clocked at speeds of 68 to 75 mph (110 to 120 km/h). The Cheetah also has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in three seconds.

Female Cheetahs reach sexual maturity in twenty to twenty-four months. Males reach maturity at around twelve months, but they do not usually mate until at least three years old. Females are not monogamous and are known to have cubs with many different mates.

Litters, of up to nine cubs, result after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days, although the average litter size is four. Cubs are born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a mantle, extending to mid-back. The mantle gives them a mane or Mohawk-type appearance, but this fur is shed as the Cheetah matures.

Females are solitary, except when raising cubs, and tend to avoid each other, though some mother/daughter pairs have been known to remain together for small periods of time. When cubs reach about 18 months of age, the mother leaves them, and they form a sibling group that will stay together for another six months. At about two years, the female siblings leave the group, and the young males remain together for life. Life span, in the wild, is up to twelve years, and they have lived up to twenty years, in captivity.

The Cheetah is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They face various threats, in the wild, including: loss of habitat and prey, conflict with humans, illegal pet trade, competition with/predation by other carnivores, and a gene pool with low variability.

More pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Rare Litter of Cheetahs Born at Allwetterzoo Münster" »

Cheetah Cub Has New Puppy Companion


A Cheetah cub, being hand-raised by staff at Wildlife Safari, was recently introduced to a companion that will, hopefully, change her life for the better! 




Photo Credits: Wildlife Safari; Video Credits: The News-Review / Kate Stringer

Wildlife Safari, in Oregon, excitedly welcomed the birth of the new Cheetah cub, on February 28th. She was born to dad, ‘Roble’ and mom, ‘Sage’. 

Unfortunately, Sage was unable to produce enough milk to sustain the newborn. Safari staff explained that a mother Cheetah will sometimes abandon a single-born cub, for one of two reasons: the greater possibility of birthing a larger litter in the near future or inadequate lactation. Safari staff took Sage’s cub into their care, at a week old, and have been hand raising her, round the clock.

Because Cheetahs have a propensity to completely flatten themselves, while lying down, staff decided to honor this endearing quality by naming the new cub ‘Pancake’!  Pancake lived at the Safari’s nursery for the first few weeks of her life. After receiving her vaccinations, she was able to spend several weeks in the nursery of one of her keeper’s homes, where she worked on her socialization skills.

There have been plenty of humans to love and care for the cub, but Pancake needed a more comparable and permanent companion. So, on April 15th, ‘Dayo’ (which means “joy arrives”), a Rhodesian Ridgeback, made a trip from the San Francisco Bay area to Wildlife Safari, where the canine was introduced to his new foster sister, Pancake. 

Dayo and Pancake share the same birthday, and they will be raised together, providing companionship for each other. They will also be partners in helping to spread the conservation message so vital to the animal community.

Continue reading "Cheetah Cub Has New Puppy Companion" »

Cheetah Cubs Test Mom's Patience


Four 16-week-old Cheetah cubs push the limits of their mother’s patience every day at Florida’s White Oak Conservation Center.

11015117_891090720941317_4709526921701788625_nPhoto Credit:  Karen Meeks

The cubs, born in December, treat mom (and each other) like a jungle gym.  But what looks like playtime to us is really “cheetah school” for the little ones.  As they climb, bite, swat, and wrestle, the cubs learn important skills that will prepare them for a life on the hunt. 

Known by all as the world’s fastest animals, Cheetahs can run at speeds of 60-70 mph to capture prey on Africa’s savannahs.  Their population is declining in the wild due to habitat loss and persecution by farmers seeking to protect their livestock.  Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Due to their unique health and social requirements, these magnificent cats are very challenging to breed in captivity, but the White Oak Conservation Center is one of the world’s most successful Cheetah breeding facilities.  Working in collaboration with zoos around the country, White Oak is at the forefront of Cheetah conservation.

Four Fluffy Female Cheetah Cubs for Zoo Basel

Jung_geparden_ZO25740The birth of four Cheetah cubs on July 24 at Zoo Basel demonstrates the importance of inter-zoo cooperation and keeper knowledge to help an endangered species reproduce.

Jung_geparden_TOR1746_bPhoto Credit:  Zoo Basel

On April 24 this year, keepers noticed that instead of spitting at each other through the fence as they normally did, Cheetahs Alima and Gazembe were expressing interest in each other with loud purrs. Alima was rolling on her back, a sure sign that she was interested in a male visitor. The keepers allowed her in with the male and the two immediately began to mate.

Exactly three months later, Alima gave birth to four healthy and lively offspring. The cubs remained behind the scenes with Alima for six weeks.  Now that the cubs have access to their outdoor yard, keepers report that the sisters often play until they keel over from exhaustion!

Zoo Basel participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to cooperatively manage zoo-dwelling populations of endangered and threatened animals, such as Cheetahs.

Breeding Cheetahs in zoos is notoriously difficult. Female Cheetahs are loners, and it is only during the mating season that they allow a partner to approach. For this reason, the males and females at the zoo are kept in adjacent enclosures, which allows them to leave their scent and potentially arouse interest in each other. If a female Cheetah shows interest in a male, keepers must put them together as quickly as possible. If the animals are separated too early then there may not be any offspring, and if they are separated too late they may become aggressive. Zoo keepers must therefore know their animals well and be able to interpret their behavior.

Cheetahs are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are only about 5,000 remaining in all of Africa. Since 2013, Basel Zoo has supported the Big Life Foundation in Kenya – a successful conservation project for predators in the Amboseli National Park. The Cheetah population in this park has begun to increase again since the project was launched.

See more photos of the Cheetah sisters below.

Continue reading "Four Fluffy Female Cheetah Cubs for Zoo Basel" »

Cheetah Cub Sisters at San Diego Zoo Safari Park


Two Cheetah cubs, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Animal Care Center, recently posed for a photo after a bottle feeding. The female cubs are being hand raised by animal care staff at the Safari Park and receiving around-the-clock care, which includes bottle feedings every few hours.

Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Global © 2014

The female cubs were born at the Safari Park's Cheetah Breeding Facility. As the mother, Allie, has been unsuccessful in raising her previous litters, animal care staff made the decision to hand rear these littermates, born on Sept. 1. 

The nearly three-week-old cubs are growing quickly and now weigh around 3 pounds each. They are becoming increasingly active now that their eyes are open and their vision is becoming clearer. Animal care staff says that the cubs are full of personality, noting that at only a few days old, the youngsters were already swatting and interacting with each other. 

"Every baby's different, but these Cheetahs really seem to be developing quickly in our eyes," said Eileen Neff, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "They are great eaters; they started playing when they were just three or four days old. They could barely walk at that time, so it was pretty interesting seeing them tumbling around with each other."

These cubs with be Animal Ambassadors and each will be paired with a domestic dog for companionship, as are all ambassador Cheetahs at the Safari Park and San Diego Zoo. The dog's body language communicates to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the Cheetah.

Visitors to the Safari Park may see the two cubs at the Animal Care Center from 9 a.m. for a few hours daily.

A Cheetah Cub and His Puppy Companion Build a Lifelong Bond

10496992_920383311311679_8853372725256295054_oPhoto taken on June 18, 2014, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Seen here at just seven weeks old, San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Cheetah cub is getting to know his new dog companion as the two continue to bond and spend time at the Safari Park's Animal Care Center. The Rhodesian ridgeback puppy was paired with the cub after the Cheetah was rejected by his mother and had to be hand raised as an animal ambassador. The Cheetah and puppy will be raised together and the dog will serve as a lifelong companion to the Cheetah. 

Safari Park Cheetahs selected for training as ambassadors are paired early in life with a domestic dog. As the two companions grow up together, the dog's body language will communicate to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the Cheetah. The Safari Park currently has four cheetah ambassadors all of which are trained to participate in the Park's Cheetah Run experience.


From Renewed Life to New Life…

Cub with Caregiver

Less than 1 year ago, Venus made headlines as one of few animals in the world to under-go eye surgery. Cango Wildlife Ranch's treasured 6 year old female Cheetah, Venus, experienced a challenging start to life but nothing prepared keepers for this remarkable turn-around.

The Roman Goddess of love, beauty and fertility shares more than just a name with Cango's spotted Goddess. One who is equally as beautiful and awe-inspiring.

Venus was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts. Vets monitored her for many months but her condition continued to deteriorate and gravely affected her quality of life. After months of tests, planning, preparation and much needed fundraising, vets were able to take Venus to the Cape Animal Eye Hospital for surgery.

Venus During Surgery

Doctor Anthony Goodhead (Cape Town) removed the cataracts and large amount of scar tissue from Venus’ corneas. Due to her particular case, it was determined that new lenses would not resolve her condition; however, by removing all the obstructions it would restore her sight. Multiple tests were done on Venus to better understand the cause of her impairment, specifically with regards to diseases commonly found in Cheetahs. Luckily she tested negative for all. According to experts, it is likely that Venus’ condition was as the result of malnutrition as a cub. Venus’ surgery was a massive success. She is now far-sighted but for the first time in over two years… she can see.

Venus Surgery

Cango Wildlife Ranch keepers' experience of Venus’ pre and post-surgery behavior was a privilege in itself. She transformed from a scared, nervous and fairly aggressive animal to a more confident assured cat who rambunctiously explored her surroundings, as if it is the first time, even though it had been her home for years.

Venus Pre-Surgery

Venus’ recovery has gone exceptionally well. She undoubtedly received a renewed gift-of-life… and now it seems she is paying it forward.

Just the other day, Venus gave birth to four healthy cheetah cubs. She surprised keepers with her amazing maternal skills as a first time mom. Both mom and cubs are healthy and happy!

Pippa and Peyton


Continue reading "From Renewed Life to New Life…" »

Baby Cheetahs Frolic at Schönbrunn Zoo


Three Cheetahs born on April 16 are frolicking, playing with each other, and cuddling up with mom now that they are on exhibit at Austria’s Schönbrunn Zoo.

Gepard_06_TGS_ZupancPhoto Credit: Daniel Zupanc

At five weeks old, the Cheetah cubs, whose sex has not yet been determined, are already the size of domestic cats and tip the scales at around nine pounds (4 kg). The triplets also have roly-poly milk tummies.

“All three young animals are developing splendidly.  Two of the babies come out several times a day, the third one is a bit more timid and prefers to wait in the litter cave until his mother and siblings come back,” explains the zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

Baby Cheetahs grow very quickly. Schratter says, “Cheetahs are pure carnivores, but up to now the young are being suckled, although they have already broken their milk teeth. Before long, the little feline predators will be enjoying their first meal of meat.”

Once hunted for their fur, Cheetahs are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to habitat destruction and the lack of prey. Only around 10,000 of these animals still live in Africa. The Schönbrunn Zoo participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), despite the difficulty of breeding Cheetahs in a zoo setting.  The new triplets are the first Cheetahs born at the zoo in 13 years.

See more photos of frolicking Cheetah cubs below.

Continue reading "Baby Cheetahs Frolic at Schönbrunn Zoo" »

Keepers at Wildlife Safari Save Rejected Cheetah Cub

1 cheetah

Staff at Wildlife Safari in Oregon have stepped in to care for a newborn Cheetah who was rejected by his mother. On May 3, first-time Cheetah mom Moyo stopped eating, which alerted keepers that a birth was imminent. Keepers attentively monitored the birth on surveillance cameras, and became concerned for the wellbeing of the cub when mom ignored him, and did not attempt to clean off the birth sack. 

Newborns can only survive minutes without being removed from the sack and cleaned, so staff quickly stepped in to save the cub's life. They removed the sack, cleaned the airway and stimulated the cub to take his first breath. Since the mother would not care for the newborn, he was rushed to an incubator inside Wildlife Safari's animal hospital.

2 cheetah

3 cheetah

4 cheetahPhoto credit: Wildlife Safari 

The newborn is doing well: he's taking his bottle, putting on weight, and has already won the hearts of staff. He is the 174th Cheetah cub to be born at the park through the internationally recognized Cheetah breeding program. 

"Given this rare opportunity to hand raise the cub, he will soon become an ambassador for his species at another AZA accredited facility" said Carnivore Supervisor Sarah Roy.