Cheetah

Santa Was Good to Cango Wildlife Ranch

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The Christmas season is over, but it came early for Cango Wildlife Ranch, in South Africa… bearing the most precious gifts of life! They weren’t just blessed with one or two little bundles of joy; the storks were working overtime as they reached a record high 18 babies for the month of December!

Cango staff are still beaming from ear to ear... just like proud parents. They had an incredible litter of six Cheetah cubs born at the private reserve on November 16. The cubs are strong and healthy, as is mom.

As you can imagine, the only thing cuter than one Cheetah cub is six of them! They currently receive around-the-clock care at the C.A.R.E.S. (Care and Rehab of Endangered Species) facility, and will move to the ranch in early January. The cubs provide valuable new bloodlines, which will form part of Cango’s Cheetah Preservation Program and on-going conservation efforts throughout the next decade.

The season of excitement spread from six Cheetahs to a pair of twins! Picture a Lemur right out of the movie Madagascar---with a gorgeous long black and white striped tail curved overhead, bright orange eyes as wide as the sun and a fluffy grey body. Upon taking a closer look, there are four tiny hands wrapped around her body, closely nestled on her chest are her tiny clones with stringy tails and eyes wide and alert in their big bobble-heads. Too perfect for words! Whilst mom soaks up the morning sun, the babies get a little braver and often attempt to ‘venture’ off into the unknown, but the big adventure is never more than half a meter away and they clumsily hop back to mom. One can watch them for hours until they all curl up in a big ball to take an afternoon nap.

Cango’s next baby was born in their Wallaby Walkabout. Now as cute as all the babies are, staff are confident that the new little Joey is more than likely hogging second place. He finally revealed himself by peeking out of his moms pouch! Talk about luxury living… the little Joey enjoys around-the-clock climate control, all cushioned and snug, full ‘room-service’ for meals with all the safety features of a protective mom all in her pouch! He has since started braving the big world…. He often falls out of mom’s pouch but stays close and attentive at all times. At the sight of an intimidating dove, he hops back to mom and dives headfirst into her pouch, often forgetting that his lanky legs are still sticking out.

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4_Wallaby baby2Photo Credits: Cango Wildlife Ranch

All the animal mommies are doing a phenomenal job caring for their young ones but credit must be given to Cango Wildlife Ranch’s wonderful team of hand-raisers, as well. They have had their hands full over the past month. At times, it is vital to intervene and care for babies to ensure survival. Each and every life is important to them, and they endeavor to go above and beyond to ensure they provide the utmost care to every single animal at the facility. They often act as mums, when the real moms aren’t able.

Currently, two Swainsons Lorikeet chicks (as well as two eggs being incubated), two gorgeous little Von Der Decken’s Hornbills, one bright-eyed Malayan Flying Fox (bat), and four incredible Spotted Eagle Owls are in the hands-on care of staff at the Ranch.

The Lorikeets often need to be hand-raised, due to the larger males feeding on the eggs. Staff incubates all the eggs in the C.A.R.E.S. Centre and then cares for the hatchlings until they are on solid food and can return to the aviary. This also results in very special bonds formed between the birds and carers.

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Cheetah Cub Gets a Lick of Love

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Florida’s White Oak Conservation Center has a new litter of Cheetah cubs!  Two male cubs and one female cub were born to mom Karamel in November.

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12366156_1035283176522070_1926322228904194861_oPhoto Credit:  Karen Meeks
 
Zoo keepers report that Karamel is very protective of her cubs, which is a natural behavior that female Cheetahs exhibit in the wild.

Breeding Cheetahs, which are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is a high priority for the staff at White Oak.  With Karamel’s litter of three cubs, 133 Cheetahs have been born at the center.

Though they are the fastest mammals on Earth, Cheetahs face many hurdles in the race against extinction.  Loss of suitable habitat is the primary threat to these cats, as well as persecution by farmers protecting their livestock.  Cheetahs’ unique genetics and their nutritional requirements make captive breeding especially challenging. 


Cheetah Cub Gets A Helping Hand

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A Cheetah cub born October 17 at Australia’s Taronga Zoo is being hand-raised after she was rejected by her mother.

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IMG_6161Photo Credit:  Taronga Zoo
 

The female cub was one of two born to first-time mother Kyan. Sadly, the other cub was stillborn.

Because singleton cubs are often rejected by their mothers, keepers monitored the mother and cub closely. When they noticed Kyan’s attention to the cub decreasing, especially when feeding, the staff decided to intervene to give the cub the best chance of survival.

The little Cheetah is now receiving round-the-clock care, with a team of keepers staying overnight and feeding her five times a day.

So far, the cub is developing well, growing in strength, and starting to chase balls and stalk play toys. She weighed just under four pounds at her most recent health check, a promising result for the team who is helping to raise the cub.

Though Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals, they cannot escape the effects of human encroachment on their wild habitats.  With only 10,000 remaining in the wilds of southern Africa, Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Rare Litter of Cheetahs Born at Allwetterzoo Münster

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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. 

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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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Cheetah Cub Has New Puppy Companion

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A Cheetah cub, being hand-raised by staff at Wildlife Safari, was recently introduced to a companion that will, hopefully, change her life for the better! 

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Photo Credits: Wildlife Safari; Video Credits: The News-Review / Kate Stringer

Wildlife Safari, in Oregon, excitedly welcomed the birth of the new Cheetah cub, on February 28th. She was born to dad, ‘Roble’ and mom, ‘Sage’. 

Unfortunately, Sage was unable to produce enough milk to sustain the newborn. Safari staff explained that a mother Cheetah will sometimes abandon a single-born cub, for one of two reasons: the greater possibility of birthing a larger litter in the near future or inadequate lactation. Safari staff took Sage’s cub into their care, at a week old, and have been hand raising her, round the clock.

Because Cheetahs have a propensity to completely flatten themselves, while lying down, staff decided to honor this endearing quality by naming the new cub ‘Pancake’!  Pancake lived at the Safari’s nursery for the first few weeks of her life. After receiving her vaccinations, she was able to spend several weeks in the nursery of one of her keeper’s homes, where she worked on her socialization skills.

There have been plenty of humans to love and care for the cub, but Pancake needed a more comparable and permanent companion. So, on April 15th, ‘Dayo’ (which means “joy arrives”), a Rhodesian Ridgeback, made a trip from the San Francisco Bay area to Wildlife Safari, where the canine was introduced to his new foster sister, Pancake. 

Dayo and Pancake share the same birthday, and they will be raised together, providing companionship for each other. They will also be partners in helping to spread the conservation message so vital to the animal community.

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Cheetah Cubs Test Mom's Patience

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Four 16-week-old Cheetah cubs push the limits of their mother’s patience every day at Florida’s White Oak Conservation Center.
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11015117_891090720941317_4709526921701788625_nPhoto Credit:  Karen Meeks

The cubs, born in December, treat mom (and each other) like a jungle gym.  But what looks like playtime to us is really “cheetah school” for the little ones.  As they climb, bite, swat, and wrestle, the cubs learn important skills that will prepare them for a life on the hunt. 

Known by all as the world’s fastest animals, Cheetahs can run at speeds of 60-70 mph to capture prey on Africa’s savannahs.  Their population is declining in the wild due to habitat loss and persecution by farmers seeking to protect their livestock.  Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Due to their unique health and social requirements, these magnificent cats are very challenging to breed in captivity, but the White Oak Conservation Center is one of the world’s most successful Cheetah breeding facilities.  Working in collaboration with zoos around the country, White Oak is at the forefront of Cheetah conservation.


Four Fluffy Female Cheetah Cubs for Zoo Basel

Jung_geparden_ZO25740The birth of four Cheetah cubs on July 24 at Zoo Basel demonstrates the importance of inter-zoo cooperation and keeper knowledge to help an endangered species reproduce.
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Jung_geparden_TOR1746_bPhoto Credit:  Zoo Basel

On April 24 this year, keepers noticed that instead of spitting at each other through the fence as they normally did, Cheetahs Alima and Gazembe were expressing interest in each other with loud purrs. Alima was rolling on her back, a sure sign that she was interested in a male visitor. The keepers allowed her in with the male and the two immediately began to mate.

Exactly three months later, Alima gave birth to four healthy and lively offspring. The cubs remained behind the scenes with Alima for six weeks.  Now that the cubs have access to their outdoor yard, keepers report that the sisters often play until they keel over from exhaustion!

Zoo Basel participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to cooperatively manage zoo-dwelling populations of endangered and threatened animals, such as Cheetahs.

Breeding Cheetahs in zoos is notoriously difficult. Female Cheetahs are loners, and it is only during the mating season that they allow a partner to approach. For this reason, the males and females at the zoo are kept in adjacent enclosures, which allows them to leave their scent and potentially arouse interest in each other. If a female Cheetah shows interest in a male, keepers must put them together as quickly as possible. If the animals are separated too early then there may not be any offspring, and if they are separated too late they may become aggressive. Zoo keepers must therefore know their animals well and be able to interpret their behavior.

Cheetahs are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are only about 5,000 remaining in all of Africa. Since 2013, Basel Zoo has supported the Big Life Foundation in Kenya – a successful conservation project for predators in the Amboseli National Park. The Cheetah population in this park has begun to increase again since the project was launched.

See more photos of the Cheetah sisters below.

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Cheetah Cub Sisters at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Two Cheetah cubs, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Animal Care Center, recently posed for a photo after a bottle feeding. The female cubs are being hand raised by animal care staff at the Safari Park and receiving around-the-clock care, which includes bottle feedings every few hours.

Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Global © 2014

The female cubs were born at the Safari Park's Cheetah Breeding Facility. As the mother, Allie, has been unsuccessful in raising her previous litters, animal care staff made the decision to hand rear these littermates, born on Sept. 1. 

The nearly three-week-old cubs are growing quickly and now weigh around 3 pounds each. They are becoming increasingly active now that their eyes are open and their vision is becoming clearer. Animal care staff says that the cubs are full of personality, noting that at only a few days old, the youngsters were already swatting and interacting with each other. 

"Every baby's different, but these Cheetahs really seem to be developing quickly in our eyes," said Eileen Neff, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "They are great eaters; they started playing when they were just three or four days old. They could barely walk at that time, so it was pretty interesting seeing them tumbling around with each other."

These cubs with be Animal Ambassadors and each will be paired with a domestic dog for companionship, as are all ambassador Cheetahs at the Safari Park and San Diego Zoo. The dog's body language communicates to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the Cheetah.

Visitors to the Safari Park may see the two cubs at the Animal Care Center from 9 a.m. for a few hours daily.


A Cheetah Cub and His Puppy Companion Build a Lifelong Bond

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Seen here at just seven weeks old, San Diego Zoo Safari Park's Cheetah cub is getting to know his new dog companion as the two continue to bond and spend time at the Safari Park's Animal Care Center. The Rhodesian ridgeback puppy was paired with the cub after the Cheetah was rejected by his mother and had to be hand raised as an animal ambassador. The Cheetah and puppy will be raised together and the dog will serve as a lifelong companion to the Cheetah. 

Safari Park Cheetahs selected for training as ambassadors are paired early in life with a domestic dog. As the two companions grow up together, the dog's body language will communicate to the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the Cheetah. The Safari Park currently has four cheetah ambassadors all of which are trained to participate in the Park's Cheetah Run experience.