FOTA Wildlife Park has announced the birth of five new Northern cheetah cubs.
The five cubs, comprising of three females and two males were born on August 10.
The gorgeous new cheetah cubs spend several hours a day playing with their mother Grainne on Cheetah Hill at the popular Cork visitor attraction.
The cub’s mother Grainne is four years old and was born in Fota Wildlife Park.
She previously gave birth to a litter of three cubs on Saint Patrick’s Day last year, whereas twelve-year-old Archie is a first-time dad.
A total of 238 cheetahs have been born at Fota Wildlife Park since 1984.
Head ranger, Julien Fonteneau is thrilled with the new cubs:
"The cubs are very active and a delight to see every day, up at the top of their habitat playing and annoying their mother Grainne, who seems to be taking it all in her stride,” he said.
Not only is the cheetah the fastest land animal in the world today, but the species has also been in existence for between 3.5 and four million years – making it the oldest of Earth’s big cat living species.
The Northern cheetah subspecies are considered endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as there are less than 800 left in the wild.
The head ranger said Fota Wildlife Park are pleased to participate in European Endangered Species breeding programmes.
"With each year, wild populations of cheetah are coming under greater threat of extinction from habitat destruction and human persecution.
“These births are a great way to educate the public about the collaborative work that zoos do under the auspices of EAZA breeding programmes (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) to conserve the genetic diversity of endangered and vulnerable species, like the cheetah.
“For example, the father of the cubs, Archie, was transferred to Fota Wildlife Park from a zoological facility in Dubai to take part in the EEP here at Fota.
"The cheetah is synonymous with Fota Wildlife Park, the image of the species is used in our logo and our director, Sean McKeown, coordinates the studbook for the breeding of the captive Northern cheetah population in European zoos,” he added.