Yesterday, Monarto Zoo’s five adorable cheetah cubs were unveiled to the public for the very first time.
At just three-months-old, the four girls and one boy became aquainted with their new habitat under the watchful eye of mum Kesho.
The cubs spent the first three months of their lives in a private den with Kesho to give the family time to bond.
Monarto Zoo Carnivore Keeper Michelle Lloyd said the cubs, now weighing about seven kilograms each, were all very adventurous.
“Today’s excursion onto exhibit will give the little cubs a good opportunity to explore their new environment and get used to all the sights and sounds of the habitat before we get really busy in the school holidays,” she said.
The cubs were born on Friday, March 24 through Monarto Zoo’s breeding program, designed to save this vulnerable species from extinction.
Ms Lloyd said the little felines had a bright future ahead of them, and were an important contribution to the breeding program working to secure the species’ future.
She said the cubs would play an important role in helping to educate the public about the plight of their brothers and sisters in the wild.
“At the moment, Cheetah numbers in their native eastern and south-western Africa are scarily low, with only 6,700 estimated to be left in the wild,” she said.
“Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as the killing of Cheetahs to protect livestock, has seen almost half of the wild population disappear in the last 35 years.”
Four-year-old mum Kesho was born at Monarto Zoo in 2012 as part of Zoos SA’s Cheetah breeding program.
Dad, Innis, is currently on a breeding loan from National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra.
“With the cubs on public display and with heaps of other adorable babies, like our two giraffe calves for visitors to meet, we’re expecting lots of visitors this school holidays,” Ms Lloyd said.
At the end of last year, The Standard watched on as male cheetah Saadani underwent surgery for ongoing gastritis. See the photos and full story here