The puddle of adorable spots has grown again at Monarto Safari Park with four-year-old Cheetah, Kuishi, welcoming four fluffy cubs on 5 April.
This is Kuishi’s first litter and the new mum has taken to her role spot-tacularly.
The birth of the new cubs extends the family tree at Monarto Safari Park, as Kuishi was from 10-year-old Kesho’s second litter in 2017, with sisters Mapenzi and Mara also still living at Monarto.
Senior Keeper of Carnivores, Rachel Hemming, said it was very exciting for the Cheetah team to now have seven cubs on the ground, who were growing up happy and healthy.
“We are so proud of Kuishi, she has taken so naturally to motherhood,” Rachel said.
“It was very exciting for us to welcome four little cubs. When we did the initial X-rays we could only see two, so it was a lovely surprise when the additional pair came along.
“The team has been working incredibly hard to train the girls to present for X-rays and blood draws, which is such a great outcome for their animal welfare and allows us to monitor their health.
“These four cubs come after Qailee’s litter of three, including the little female we cross-fostered into her litter in March. So we now have a spotty seven!”
Qailee’s one-month-old trio have been growing up purring and playful, and have even started to explore just outside their den.
“The cub we hand raised has seamlessly fitted into her new family and Qailee has just been amazing at looking after all three of her little ones,” Rachel said.
“All the long hours and overnight feeds are worth it when you have such an amazing outcome, not only for the cub and our team as an Australasian first, but also for Qailee and her litter.”
Cheetah cubs stay in and around their den with until around three months of age. Once they are ready to explore the Monarto Safari Park Cheetah habitat, visitors will be able to see them from the Cheetah platform and on the Zu-loop bus.
Director of Monarto Safari Park, Peter Clark, said while the sex of six of the cubs is yet to be determined, the hope is to form a coalition to roam the plains in part of the new 550 hectare Wild Africa precinct.
“Our new Cheetah exhibit in Wild Africa spans over 60 acres and, thanks to the incredible support we received through the 2023 Zoos SA Gala, we are well underway in creating an amazing habitat, Cheetah facilities and a brand new experience for guests to get up close with this amazing species,” he said.
“In the wild, female Cheetah are solitary, however males can form coalitions (usually with their brothers from their litter) and they can then stay together for life.
“What would be fantastic is to have the males in Qailee and Kuishi’s litters bonding and creating a brotherhood that will move into the new space, which we hope to open to visitors towards the end of this year.”
While we wait for the spot-tacular seven to make their debut, Zoos SA will share pictures and videos of all the cute and cuddly moments on their social channels.
Cheetah are sadly just a spot away from extinction, with only 6,000 remaining across eastern and south-western Africa.
Impacted by habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade, Zoos SA partners with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to protect the species in the wild.
The CCF undertake amazing conservation projects on the ground such as the Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) program.
In February, the program welcomed an influx of puppies, who will grow up to be trained to help farmers in Namibia protect their livestock from predators and in turn protect cheetah from conflict with local communities.
You can also lend a paw to this amazing species both at Monarto Safari Park and in the wild by donating to Zoos SA, adopting a Cheetah or taking part in one of our pawsome animal experiences.
A big thanks must also go to our friends at Kimbolton Wines, who support Cheetah through the sale of their 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Cheetah Wine’ and as an exhibit sponsor.
For more information of Cheetah conservation and to donate to our spotty cause, please visit monartosafari.com.au.