Cheetah

Two Cheetah Litters Born at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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The Smithsonian's National Zoo celebrated International Cheetah Day (December 4) with ten genetically valuable cubs! They were all born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute last month. First-time mother Miti birthed a litter of seven cubs on November 12. Six of her cubs made it through those critical early days—five females and one male. Experienced mother Ally gave birth to a litter of four cubs on November 26. Animal care staff have not fully examined Ally’s cubs yet but both litters are doing well so far. Staff are keeping an eye on the litters with closed-circuit webcams, and will have more updates in the coming weeks.  

The birth of these ten cubs is excellent news for this Vulnerable species; according to the Internation Union for Consservation of Species, there are an estimated 7,500 adult Cheetahs in the wild. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, launched in 2010, works to conserve endangered species and train conservationists. 

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Photo Credit: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute / Amber Dedrick (1) 


Cheetah Cubs Bond with Mom at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

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Three new Cheetah cubs were born on October 12 at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas! They are two females and one male. All appear to be in good health and first-time mom Gracie is proving to be a natural mother. 

The father is Bruce, an 8-year-old male born and hand-raised at Fossil Rim. This was his first litter of cubs and the center's animal care staff were pleasantly surprised by his ability to reproduce, as hand-raised male Cheetahs often fail to reproduce sucessfully. Bruce and his brother Moose were pulled from their mom for hand-raising due to illness at a young age.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is hosting a naming contest on their Facebook page to invite the public to help name the cubs. The contest closes tomorrow, December 4, on International Cheetah Day (a campaign created by the Cheetah Conservation Fund to raise awareness about this Vulnerable species). In addition to naming the Cheetahs, the winners will also receive a private tour of the wildlife center's Cheetah facility, which is not open to the public. 

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See videos of the litter playing with mom:

 


Meet Burgers' Zoo's Cheetah Cub Trio

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As a Thanksgiving treat, here's a sneak peek at the newest little Cheetahs at Burgers' Zoo in the Netherlands!

For the next few months they will stay behind the scenes so that mom can raise her cubs undisturbed. Once they're old enough they will have a veterinary checkup to get vaccinated and to determine their sexes. 

Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened species. Current estimates place the wild Cheetah population at around 7,500 individuals. We're thankful for zoos that aid wildlife conservation through cooperative captive breeding programs, research, and by reaching out to engage and educate the public.

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Romping with Cheetah Cubs - a ZooBorns First!

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Last Monday my ZooBorns' co-founder, Chris Eastland, and I (Andrew Bleiman) made a very special trip to Dallas Zoo to meet their twin Cheetah cubs, Kamau and Winspear. We also met their canine companion, a black Lab puppy named, Amani. 

It's extraordinarily rare that we get to interact, let alone romp, with real-live zoo-borns. However these special cubs are being raised as education animals so socialization with humans, even goofy ZooBorns guys, is part of their regular day. Their puppy friend, Amani, is a calming influence who will also help with these efforts. 

The cubs were born at Smithsonian's Front Royal Conservation Biology Institute on July 8th. 

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The feline duo put on quite a display. Stalking and pouncing on us / one another / furniture and just about anything else worth clawing at occupied most of the morning. The cubs made a variety of noises, from bird-like chirps, to gutteral growls, to purrs that would remind you of your house cat, just a lot louder. 

With wild Cheetah populations hovering somewhere around 10,000, the species is considered vulnerable to extinction. Cheetahs thrive in vast expanses of land. Human encroachment and habitat destruction are central threats to this iconic species.

Institutions like Dallas Zoo serve an invaluable role in building empathy and awareness for wildlife conservation. We here at ZooBorns are proud to help spread the word about these efforts and consider ourselves incredibly priviliged to meet Dallas' newest Cheetah ambassadors. 

Special thanks to the Dallas Zoo staff that made our visit possible. Pictured left to right: Chris Eastland (ZooBorns), Candice Davis, Chris Johnson, Robin Ryan, and Andrew Bleiman (ZooBorns). Not pictured: Laurie Holloway

Photo credits: ZooBorns / Juan Pulido


Cheetah Cubs Bond with Black Lab Puppy at Dallas Zoo

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Dallas Zoo recently welcomed two new adorable ambassadors: Cheetah cubs Winspear and Kamau. The 8-week-old male cubs were born July 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va. A team of Dallas Zoo experts spent nearly two weeks in Virginia before flying back to Dallas with the cubs. Winspear, the larger of the two, now weighs more than 8 pounds, while Kamau is over 6 pounds.

The cubs also have a new companion who’ll be raised alongside them: an 8-week-old Black Labrador puppy named Amani. Zoological experts have found that because dogs are naturally comfortable in public settings, Amani will provide a calming influence for the cubs, as well as another playmate as they grow to adulthood. Amani means 'peace' in the Swahili language of East Africa, where cheetahs still exist in the wild. The cats are endangered, however, with their numbers estimated to have fallen to about 10,000.

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Photo credits: Dallas Zoo

Watch a video of the playful cubs:

 

“It is a thrill to be able to tell the story about cheetah conservation and to educate Dallas Zoo guests about this magnificent species,” says Sean Green, vice president of guest experiences for the Dallas Zoo. “Winspear and Kamau will become important animal ambassadors for the Dallas Zoo, building appreciation and awareness about cheetahs to more than 900,000 visitors each year.”The cubs are smoke-colored, with black spots and unique “tear stripes” below their eyes already evident. As they grow, they will acquire the golden color of adult cheetahs. When full grown, the cheetahs will stand about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 140 pounds.The cubs will not reside with the Zoo’s two adult brother-and-sister cheetahs, Bonde and Kilima, in the Giants of the Savanna cheetah habitat. Instead, guests soon will have the opportunity to meet them in person at the Wild Encounters stage. In addition, the cubs occasionally will travel to select outreach events outside the zoo. Only 15 zoos in North America incorporate cheetahs into their outreach programs.

Says Greene, “Our African-themed exhibits, such as the Giants of the Savanna, are some of the most popular areas of the Dallas Zoo. These magnificent animals will help us tell the story about these habitats and the conservation work we support.” 


Playful Cheetah Cub Duo Delights Visitors at the Chester Zoo

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Two energetic Northern Cheetah cubs turned 2 months recently at Chester Zoo in England. The pair, born June 4, are a male and a female. The zoo says that the two cubs are starting to develop their own personalities, as they climb tree stumps and bounce after one another. Team Manager of Carnivores, Dave Hall, said: “They’re very, very playful and a real handful for mum. But she’s exceptionally good with them and doing a great job of bringing them up.”

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Their mother and father, KT and Matrah, are both 6-year old Northern Cheetahs born in 2007. The pair is KT's second litter, her first being born in June 2011. Northern Cheetahs are Endangered in their native Northwest African habitat, largely due to competition with larger predators, farmers, and habitat destruction. The wild population has decreased sharply by 90% within the last 100 years, and many fear that there are as few as 250 individuals remaining. The birth of the two cubs therefore is not only a success for the Chester Zoo, but also for the International Endangered Species Breeding Program.

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The Chester Zoo is a champion for Cheetahs, combining research and support for local organizations in Africa. The Zoo supports the N/a’an ku sê Carnivore Research Project based in Namibia, where the dwindling Cheetah population is monitored and tagged. Chester Zoo also helped to develop a technique to identify Cheetahs in the wild from their paw prints, which allows for a non-intrusive way of identifying and building a data bank of these wild cats.

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Photo Credit Chester Zoo


Cheetah Triplets Weigh In at Zoo Salzburg

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A trio of Cheetah cubs was born on June 28 at Zoo Salzburg in Austria. The trio, which consists of two males and one female, were born to mother Ginger. Ginger is taking great care of her cubs, who have grown considerably since their birth. Born at 250 grams each (about 1/2 pound), the males now weigh 1,200 grams each (2.65 pounds) and the female weighs 900 grams (just under 2 pounds).

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Cheetahs have a short gestation period of about 90-95 days. Young Cheetah cubs have a greyish coat and lack the distinctive spot markings of their species. Cheetahs are currently listed as Vulnerable to Extinction, with under 12,500 individuals remaining in the African wild. Native to Africa and southwestern Asia, a small population of the species also exists in Iran. Adult females are solitary, while males live in social groups. Females are very selective in choosing mates, and their social and breeding behaviors tend to make breeding within zoos a challenge.

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Photo Credit Zoo Salzburg


New Cheetah Mom Namoja Has Her Paws Full With Quintuplets!

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Namoja, Munster Zoo's female Cheetah, has her paws full with five cubs. Now nearly two months old, Namoja's quintet has been exploring Munster's outdoor exhibit since day nine. Father Jabari met Namoja in early January and the five cubs arrived just 92 days later! While First-time mom Namoja has shown excellent cub-rearing skills and a steady paw, she'll have to remain vigilant. The cubs are already adept crawlers and it won't be long before they're scampering around the entire 7,500 sq. ft. exhibit!

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Photo credits: Allwetterzoo Munster


Five Spotted Cheetah Cubs Spotted at Monatro Zoo

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On October 8, Monarto Zoo's Cheetah Nakula gave birth to five cubs - two males and three females, all healthy. The babies were allowed to bond with mom in the den, where they could only be seen via a closed circuit TV camera. Nakula proved to be a very good mother; the cubs developed well and grew big enough to venture outdoors - though it was still in an area that was off-limits to visitors (as seen on the video below).

On January 15, when the cubs were about 14 weeks old, they spent their first day in the zoo's habitat, where guests could finally enjoy seeing the spectacle of Nakula and her five furry cubs running in the high grasses. Carnivore Keeper, Michelle Lloyd said, "It's been nine years since we last had a Cheetah litter at Monarto and, amazingly, Nakula was one of the cubs born in the last litter all those years ago. It's a lot of fun to watch the cubs running around on exhibit; they're very energetic and definitely love the space. Nakula has a big job keeping up with them all but she's doing great."

Monarto Zoo Curator Beth Pohl said the litter is an important addition to the regional population, with the cubs serving to educate Australians about the plight of the Cheetah in the wild. “In the last 35 years we’ve lost almost half of the wild Cheetah population," Beth added. "Currently there’s approximately 12,000 Cheetah left -- however, in the mid 1970's, the population was estimated to be almost double that." The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation.

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Photo Credit: David Mattner for Monarto Zoo

Watch the cubs play with each other and their rather patient mother below.

Read more about the unusual circumstances of these cubs birth, and see more pictures and video, after the fold:

Continue reading "Five Spotted Cheetah Cubs Spotted at Monatro Zoo" »


Update: White Oak's Cheetah Cubs Explore Their World

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Three Cheetah cubs born at White Oak on November 26 are growing rapidly and thriving under the care of their mother, Sweeney.  Zooborns shared photos of the Cheetah cub trio when they were just one week old.  The five-week-old cubs are now eagerly exploring their outdoor habitat, though they rarely stray far from mom, who serves as a climb-on toy, shady rest stop, and all-around comforter. 

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Sweeney is a first-time mother who is expertly caring for her babies.  White Oak staff conducted a health check on the cubs, but they are allowing Sweeney to raise the cubs just as she would in the wild.

Cheetahs in the wild are in drastic decline.  These stunning predators, capable of running at speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h), are unable to outrun the threats to their survival.  Low genetic diversity in both the wild and captive populations contributes to the challenges facing this species.  About 12,500 Cheetahs remain in the wilds of eastern and southern Africa. 

White Oak works collaboratively with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) as well as the Conservation Center for Species Survival (C2S2). White Oak is one of the most successful Cheetah breeding centers in the world.  These cubs are the 145th, 146th, and 147th Cheetah cubs born at White Oak.

Photo Credit: Karen Meeks

Continue reading "Update: White Oak's Cheetah Cubs Explore Their World" »