5 cheetah cubs born at Basel Zoo

Cheetah cubs have been born at Basel Zoo for the first time in 5 years. Four young cubs can now be seen playing at their enclosure in the Etosha House.


Cheetah breeding is difficult so the zoo is pleased with their successful breeding of this endangered predator. These 4 cubs will be part of the European Endangered Species Programme which is a co-operative breeding program to make sure there are lots of cheetahs in captivity.

The zoo’s two cheetahs Alima and Gazembe are generally housed separately as they fight but have visual contact. When keepers arrived at work on April 24 they were surprised to see Alima, the female rolling on her back meaning she was interested in Gazembe, the male. Keepers allowed the two to be in together and soon enough mating was seen.


Three months after that encounter on the 24th of July the cubs were born. For six weeks Alima kept them in a den but soon they were out playing in the enclosure. Now they play all day until they are too tired and retire to the den for a nap.


Breeding cheetahs is seen to be one of the most difficult things the zoo does. In the wild the female lives alone and won’t approach a male till she is ready to mate. This must be replicated in the zoo. Once the female is ready to mate keeper must act fast because it takes time for a successful mating to occur. Keepers then must watch for when to separate the cats as doing it too late could cause aggressive behaviours. This means the keepers need to be experts in reading the cats behaviour.


At the moment there are thought to be only 5,000 cheetahs left in Africa leading them to be classified as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN red list. Basel Zoo supports the Big Life Foundation a Kenyan conservation project protecting predators in Amboseli National Park. Cheetah populations in this park are increasing since this program began.

Basel Zoo is also one of the few zoos who have been able to breed cheetahs as part of the EEP this year. 85 institutions participate in the program but only ten had births this year.

Photo Credits: Basel Zoo


By Cale Russell

TheAnimalFacts.com is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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