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:

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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" »

Cheetah Cub Trio Born at White Oak

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On November 26 a cheetah female at White Oak, a 7,400 acre Florida conservation center, gave birth to three healthy cubs.  The cubs, a female and two males, are being cared for by their mother, Sweeney, a four-year-old cheetah who was also born at White Oak. 

Sweeney had not gained much weight during her pregnancy, so keepers were surprised when she delivered three cubs.  Despite being a first-time mother, Sweeney is expertly nurturing her three babies.  For a first- hand account of the cubs’ birth, check out White Oak’s keeper blog.

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White Oak is one of the most successful cheetah breeding centers in the world, and these cubs mark the facility’s 145th, 146th, and 147th cheetah cubs. 

“Breeding cheetahs is very challenging and with only a small portion of the population reproducing, and it’s very exciting when we have cubs from a first time dam or sire, as this helps keep the population genetically healthy,” says White Oak cheetah expert Karen Meeks. “I’m very happy to see a first time mother so relaxed and content caring for her cubs.”  

The three new cheetah cubs will stay with their mother until they are about one year old.  The cubs will then be separated for placement in zoos and breeding centers, mimicking the natural dispersal process of cubs leaving their mother at that age. 

White Oak works with the Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP) and partners at the Conservation Center for Species Survival (C2S2) to sustain a healthy captive cheetah population.

The C2S2 consortium is comprised of five organizations, including White Oak, that collectively manage more than 25,000 acres devoted to endangered species study, management and recovery.  Together the C2S2 partners house over 80 cheetahs and account for a majority of the cubs born in North America each year.  Historically, the cheetah has low reproductive success in captivity, but the space, facilities, and expertise at White Oak and its C2S2 partners have resulted in increased success.

White Oak conserves and sustains some of the earth’s rarest wild animals through innovative training, research, education, and breeding programs that contribute to the survival of wildlife in nature.  The 7,400 acre facility is home to imperiled species from around the world including rhinos, cheetahs, and the elusive okapi. 

Photo Credit:  Brandon Speeg/White Oak

Un, Deux, Trois Cheetah Cubs, Born in France at La Palmyre Zoo

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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. 

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Photo credit: F. Perroux/La Palmyre ZooL

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.

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After Rigorous Training, Monarto's Cheetah Cub Debuts!

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Just last week, Monarto Zoo introduced its 4-month-old Cheetah cub to the public for the first time. Until that time, the cub remained off exhibit in quarantine. In order to ensure a successful debut, keepers implemented a rigorous training plan. Team Leader of Carnivores, Anna Bennett, said, “this included introducing her to an outdoor exhibit, training her to happily travel in a pet pack, organizing visits by large groups of people as well as visits to other areas of the zoo and listening to the radio daily to get her used a variety of different sounds. She took all these activities in her stride, looking intently at everything and purring happily.”

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Photo credit: David Mattner for Monarto Zoo

According to Monarto Zoo Curator, Beth Pohl, the little cub is as an ambassador for its species educating Australians on the plight of Cheetah 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,” Pohl said. “The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of Cheetah to protect livestock against predation.”

Meet The Magnificent Seven


It’s lucky number seven for one proud mother at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – following the birth of cheetah septuplets! The litter of Northern Cheetah cubs spent their first weeks tucked up behind the scenes with mum Dubai before making their public debut in the Zoo’s Cheetah Rock enclosure. At 12-weeks-old the playful youngsters are just beginning to develop their own personalities, with keepers spotting them climbing on rocks and chasing each other in the summer sunshine, becoming more adventurous by the day.

Senior keeper Marie Brown said: “All seven are extremely playful but mum’s very patient with them all and is doing a great job of bringing them up." The cubs are the second litter of Northern Cheetah to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – and provide a valuable rearing experience for Dubai of this endangered species.




Photo credits: ©ZSL


The septuplets birth comes two years after Dubai gave birth to her first cubs, which were the first litter of Northern Cheetah cubs ever born in the UK.

Watch These Cheetah Cubs Grow and Play -- Every Day


"A Cheetah Cub's Tail" is a live streaming video channel that follows the lives of a litter of Cheetah cubs at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) from their birth to their hopeful reintroduction into the wild. First time Cheetah mom Salome (which means peace) gave birth to the 3 cubs at HESC on May 2. Since then viewers have been watching the cubs learn, play and grow on the live streaming channel.

With one click, you can watch Salome and her trio of cubs live every day on! Bookmark it!

Cheetahs are known to be the fastest animal on earth, achieving a land speed of 65 mph (104 km/h ) in short bursts. They can accelerate from zero to over 62 mph (100 km/h) in three seconds! Considered Endangered, perhaps only 7,000 to 10,000 of these big cats remain in the wild in eastern and southwestern Africa - and they are vulnerable, as the wide-open grasslands they prefer are disappearing at the hands of people who settle there. 




Photo Credits: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre 

Spotted At Cincinnati Zoo's Nursery: New Cheetah Cub!


A three-week-old female African Cheetah cub is now on exhibit in the Cincinnati Zoo’s Nursery.  She was born at the zoo’s regional Cheetah breeding facility in Clermont County on June 22, but she had to be moved to the zoo’s Nursery after her mother, Lucy, (this is her first litter) could not provide adequate care. In an effort to get the cub back up to speed, zoo nursery keepers are bottle feeding the cub six times a day, every 2.5 hours.

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Photo credits: Cincinnati Zoo


To survive, Cheetahs need large tracts of land where they can find enough prey to hunt.  Illegal hunting of the small antelope on which they depend has dramatically diminished Cheetah numbers in the wild.  Local farmers in East and Southern Africa must learn to maintain their livestock and coexist with wild Cheetahs.   Methods including the use of fencing, guard dogs, and donkeys to protect livestock and have helped to conserve the wild prey base and habitat.

The Zoo’s breeding facility is one of only four similar facilities in the United States managed by the Species Survival Plan. In total, there have been 64 cheetah cubs born in Cincinnati.

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

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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.”

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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.

Ever Wanna Bottle Feed a Cheetah?


Three weeks after their unconventional and rocky entrance into the world, two 3-week-old Cheetahs were transported May 18 to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in good health, thanks to the hard work and swift actions of animal care staff at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The cubs are being hand-raised at the Zoo and will require around-the-clock care until they are ready to make their public debut late this summer.



Photo credits: All photos by Adrienne Crosier, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute apart from 2, 6,7, and 8 by Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo

Five-year-old Cheetah and first-time mom Ally gave birth to the first cub, a male, April 23. However, instead of nursing and cleaning the cub, she abandoned him, which is relatively common for first-time mothers under human care. Cheetah keepers moved the cub to the veterinary hospital to be treated for severe hypothermia. When Ally suddenly stopped having contractions hours later, SCBI head vet Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer anesthetized her to see if she had additional cubs. Aitken-Palmer heard additional heartbeats and performed a radiograph to determine that three cubs remained. She performed a cesarean section, a procedure rarely used on Cheetahs and one that cubs do not often survive. A team of veterinarians, keepers and scientists worked for three hours to resuscitate the three cubs, performing CPR, administrating medications and rubbing the cubs to dry and warm them. One of the three cubs, a female, did survive.

Read more about the cubs and see all their first photos below the fold...

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