New breeding success for cheetahs!
On May 17 Nandi, a female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) gave birth to 2 healthy cubs. This is Nandi's fourth litter and she is proving to be a great mum again!
La Palmyre is one of the few zoos to successfully breed this species. It has recorded about 80 births of cheetahs since 1992! Ensuring breeding success is however far from easy. Males and females do not live together permanently. They are regularly moved from one enclosure to other in order to stimulate female's heat and matings when the pair is put together. The zoo has 6 separate enclosures: 4 located behind the African plain of rhinos and 2 other nearby the polar bears.
In the wild, female cheetahs typically live alone excepting when raising cubs (1 to 5 per litter). Cubs stay with their mother until they reach the age of 18 months. Siblings usually stay together a few more months, cooperating when hunting their preys.
The two cubs born on May 17 spend yet most of their time inside the shelter of their enclosure. They have however already been seen outside but only in the early morning.
Cheetahs are listed as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List. They are threatened by habitat destruction, hunting (due to conflicts with ranchers) and competition with lions and hyenas. Moreover, their low genetic diversity make them more sensitive to diseases and epidemics.
Among the five recognized subspecies, the Asiatic cheetah is the most endangered with less than a hundred individuals living in Iran. Since 2011 the zoo supports the Iranian Cheetah Society which aims to reduce conflicts with humans and to implement education and awareness activities.
Below, the exceptional video of the cheetah birth!