FOTA Wildlife Park’s newest attractions have made their first public appearance, five weeks after their birth.
Four cheetah cubs, two male and two female, arrived to mother Nimpy at the end of May and were introduced to the public yesterday.
Staff at Fota were delighted to welcome the cubs, who are yet to be named. They are northern cheetahs, a species whose numbers have declined steeply in the last century. This is the second birth this year for Nimpy, who also gave birth to a male at the start of the year.
Fota Wildlife Park is highly involved in the global Cheetah Conservation Programme and first began breeding cheetahs in 1984. Its director Sean McKeown is the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) coordinator for the northern cheetah.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Kelly Lambe heads the team who look after the carnivore section at the park. She said the new arrivals are thriving so far.
“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 are sticking close to their mum and can be seen with visitors to Fota Wildlife Park at their enclosure close to the giraffe house.
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