Four young cheetah cubs have moved into the San Diego Zoo Safaris Park Okanvango Outpost habitat. The cubs are 4 months old and have moved to the zoo with their mother from the zoo’s off-site breeding centre.
The two male and two female cubs spent the morning running, climbing and playing. They also spent time chasing after birds and each other. This tired them out slightly though and they lied down alongside mum to have a nap. She was attentive to the cubs nursing and grooming them. Of course this didn’t last long though before they were off again. Their mother, Addison, still kept an eye on them and let out a loud chirp at any time they wandered too far. Paula Mcmanus, keeper said, “Addison is an excellent mom, calm, confident and extremely protective.”
The zoo has named the four cubs after former areas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The two males were named Wgasa and Refu while the females have been called Pumzika and Mahala. Each cub has their own personality along with faces, tails and markings which keepers use to tell them apart. “The cubs are very vocal, curious and playful, each with their own distinct temperaments. It is great to be able to watch a cheetah mother raising her cubs,” said Mcmanus.
When they were born the cubs weighed just one to two pounds each. Now on their diet of milk and raw meat the cubs are a healthy 16 to 18 pounds.
When fully grown these cheetahs will weigh anywhere from 84 to 143 pounds. At this point they will have an important role to play in the survival of their species. Currently only 10,000 cheetahs survive on Earth with 10% of these in zoos and wildlife parks. San Diego Zoo global manages a Breeding Centre Coalition which works together to breed a healthy population of cheetahs. Eight zoos participate in the program to help save the world’s fastest land animal. In the past 40 years San Diego Zoo Safari Park has managed to breed 130 cubs.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park/ Tammy Sprat