Munster Zoo

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!

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New Cheetah Mom Namoja Has Her Paws Full With Quintuplets!

Cheetah 1

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!

Cheetah 2

Cheetah 3

Cheetah 4

Cheetah 5

Cheetah 6

Cheetah 7
Photo credits: Allwetterzoo Munster

Little Lorikeets at Your Feet

Rainbow Lorikeet chicks with mom 2

Two little Rainbow Lorikeets hatched last week at the Münster Zoo in the free-flying lorikeet aviary where visitors can feed the small birds cups of nectar. What makes the birth particularly interesting is where the parrot parents chose to build their nest - right by the walkway within parrot-seed-spitting distance from peoples' feet! While there were plenty of secluded treetop nesting options, the whole parrot family seems to enjoy the hustle and bustle of visitors and the increased attention. The Rainbow Lorikeet is native to much of Australia and Asia. They often fly in flocks but spend most of their time together in pairs.

Rainbow Lorikeet chicks with mom 2

Rainbow Lorikeet chicks at Allwetterzoo Münster 2

Family Portrait

Rainbow Lorikeet chicks at Allwetterzoo Münster 2

Mongolian Horse Foal Standing Tall

On April 25th, Germany's Allwetter Zoo in Munster welcomed a Mongolian horse foal weighing 35 kg (77 lbs). Small and stocky, Mongolian horses have remained largely unchanged genetically since the time of Ghengis Kahn. They also have the largest genetic diversity among all horse breeds, suggesting that humans have not guided their breeding habits nearly as closely as other horses.

Mongolian horse foal 2

Mongolian horse foal 3

Mongolian horse foal 4

Germany's Road-Tripping Gorilla Infant Rides Shotgun!

In breaking baby gorilla news, 6-month-old Claudia has moved from Germany's Allwetter Zoo to the Wilhelma Zoo. The change comes as the baby's mother Gana passed away in January, leaving behind no suitable surrogate. Representatives from the Allwetter Zoo assured us that, despite their sadness over losing Claudia, they couldn't hope for a better home than the Wilhelma Zoo nursery.

Bärbel Uphoff + Claudia_klein Claudia clearly called "shotgun" for her first ever roadtrip cross-country!

Dgorillakind_claudia_im_allwetterzooClaudia in her element at the Allwetter Zoo, shortly before departing for Wilhelma.