Fota Welcomes Four New Cheetah Cubs

Filed under: Local News |

Photos: Darragh Kane

The latest arrivals at Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork, four new Cheetah cubs, were officially introduced to the public today. The Cubs were born on May 29th and the litter of four is made up of two males and two females. This is the second birth this year for mother Nimpy, originally from France, she also gave birth to a male Okkasie at the start of the year.

Speaking earlier today, Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown said, “All of us here at the wildlife park are thrilled with the birth of the four cheetah cubs, especially following on from the birth of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger cub born a few weeks earlier. Cheetah numbers are also declining and the population of Northern Cheetahs has plunged by 90% over the last 100 years, to just an estimated 250 left in the wild”.

The now five-week-old cheetahs have been making great progress with mum Nimpy under the watch of lead warden Kelly Lambe and the team who look after the carnivore section at the park. “We have been keeping a close eye on these cubs, as much as we can without interfering over the last few weeks and they have all fed from mum, who is doing a great job, without any issues.” said Ms Lambe. The cheetah cubs can now be seen with mum Nimpy by visitors to Fota Wildlife Park at their enclosure close to the Giraffe house at the 100 acre wildlife park.

Photos: Darragh Kane

Fota Wildlife Park is highly involved in the global Cheetah Conservation Programme and its Director Sean McKeown is the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) Coordinator for the Northern Cheetah. In this role Mr McKeown has many tasks to fulfil, such as collecting information on the status of all the Northern Cheetahs kept in EAZA zoos and parks, producing a studbook, carrying out demographical and genetic analyses, and producing a plan for the future management of the species.

Cheetahs that have been bred in Fota Wildlife Park have been sent to many breeding centres around the world over the last 30 years as part of the endangered species programme. The involvement in such programmes helps ensure that the world’s fastest animal does not become extinct with so few Northern Cheetahs existing in the wild, the birth of these cubs is very important for their population.