The pitter-patter of little paws may soon double at Monarto Safari Park! After welcoming lion cubs at the end of January, the park is now expecting cubs of the spotty kind.
In exciting news, nine-year-old cheetah Kesho is pregnant and will welcome cubs at the end of this month.
This will be the third litter of cubs for Kesho, with three females from her last litter Mapenzi, Kuishi and Mara, still living at Monarto Safari Park.
Keeper Gale Akerman said Kesho mated with recent-arrival eight-year-old male, Innis and was showing signs of a speedy pregnancy soon after with blood tests confirming the news.
“It is really exciting for us at Monarto Safari Park, but also for Kesho because this could be her last litter. She is getting older and this litter will likely stay with her until weaned around 18 months of age,” she said.
“She is such a beautiful girl and is a great mother. From the size of her, we think there could be several cubs, but we will wait and see!
“Cheetah are incredibly vulnerable to extinction, so it is particularly special to welcome cubs and raise awareness about their conservation and species in the wild.”
The gestation period for cheetah is around 90 days and litters usually range in size from two to five up to a rare eight cubs.
The team at Monarto Safari Park have installed cub cams in the cheetah den to monitor Kesho as she gives birth and keep an eye on the little ones as they grow.
As with lion cubs, the new cheetah arrivals will take some time to bond as a family and find their paws before coming out on exhibit.
We will continue to keep the Zoos SA community regularly updated with new pictures and footage of the fluffy feline family.
The news of cheetah cubs at Monarto Safari is particularly significant with the species now Africa’s most endangered big cat.
Cheetah have a classification of vulnerable to extinction from the IUCN with only an estimated 6,600 individuals remaining in eastern and south-western Africa.
These gorgeous big cats have been impacted by habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade.
Zoos SA supports these fabulous felines through our partnership with The Cheetah Conservation Fund, who do amazing work on the ground in conservation research, habitat restoration and education.
You can help us support this spotty species by adopting a cheetah at Monarto Safari Park! You can also visit our friends at Kimbolton Wines and cheers the cheetah with each purchase of their 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Cheetah Wine’ supporting Zoos SA’s work with these spotty speedy cats.
Your support will ensure the survival of these amazing animals by funding vital conservation projects and contributing to ongoing research and breeding programs.
Come along and visit the cheetah on the Zu-loop bus and access the viewing platforms from our walking trails. For more information or to book your tickets, please visit www.monartosafari.com.au.