Fota Wildlife Park has announced the births of three Northern cheetah cubs to parents Gráinne and Sam.
The male cubs, who are now 12 weeks old, were all born on St Patrick’s Day and bring the number of cheetahs born at Fota Wildlife Park to over 230 since the breeding programme began in 1985.
A fourth cub did not survive after living for only four days.
Fota are calling on the public to suggest names for the cubs on their website to be in with the chance of winning one of three year-long annual passes.
There are just only 7,100 cheetahs remaining in the wild and they are listed globally as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
However, the Northern cheetah subspecies specifically is considered Endangered as there are less than 800 left in the wild.
Fota Wildlife Park coordinates the European Breeding and management programmes for the Northern cheetah.
The Park re-opened its gates on May 20 after an eight-week closure due to the Covid 19 restrictions, and Director Sean McKeown said: “We are delighted to announce the birth of these cheetah cubs and we are also very happy to report that public and visitor feedback since reopening has been very positive. Of course, public health, safety and adhering to the Covid-19 prevention advice is paramount here, therefore it is great to hear the positive feedback from the public,” he said.
“An important part of our mission is to operate breeding programmes for endangered species worldwide. Some of the world’s most endangered species reside here,” he continued.
“Gate receipts, entry tickets and membership sales provide the vast portion of our income which allows us to continue our conservation work and education programmes on the need to conserve our global biodiversity.” An online pre-booking system is now in place for Fota Wildlife Park to ensure compliance with public health guidelines.
The Park lost over €1.2 million in income during the Covid closure and faced a monthly bill of over €30,000 in feeding costs alone.
To suggest names for the cubs visit: https://www.fotawildlife.ie/blog/fota-announce-three-northern-cheetah-cubs-born-just-before-lockdown