Two fluffy Cheetah cubs are chirping their way into the hearts of fans at Longleat Safari Park.
The cubs, a male and a female, were born in September and will remain indoors with their mother Wilma until they are 12 weeks old.
In the video below, you can hear the tiny cubs chirping and purring as they climb on their mother. Cheetahs are among the most vocal of all cats and produce a variety of chirps, growls, and purrs. They cannot roar like big cats.
Cheetahs are the fastest-developing members of the cat family. The cubs opened their eyes after just six days, began moving around on their own within three weeks, and started chewing on bones at five weeks.
The birth of these cubs is extremely important to the European Endangered Species Programme, which manages the breeding of rare species in European zoos to maintain a high level of genetic diversity.
“Both mum Wilma and dad Carl have very valuable genetics within the European population as they came to us from a captive breeding population in Pretoria, South Africa,” said keeper Eloise Kilbane. “This means they, and their offspring, are genetically distinct from the vast majority of the Cheetah within Europe.”
“It’s crucial for us to be able to widen the gene pool as much as possible within the breeding programme to maintain genetic diversity and create a healthy population,” she added.
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals, capable of top speeds of 71 miles per hour.
Cheetahs are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which in 2008 estimated that only about 7,500-10,000 adult Cheetahs remain in Africa. Many believe that the numbers have decreased significantly since then.