Five cheetah cubs born at Monarto Zoo

By Lana Guineay

Anytime is a good time for a cute baby animal. Here are five.

The new cheetah cubs have joined the Monarto Zoo family, with first-time mother Kesho delivering the healthy litter on March 24. The two-week-old felines are an exciting addition to the zoo – not only are they first litter to be born at Monarto since 2012, they mark an important contribution to the cheetah population which is classified as vulnerable to extinction in the wild.

Carnivore keeper Michelle Lloyd said four-year-old Kesho was a natural and the cubs were doing well.

“Everyone’s thrilled to welcome the new arrivals to our cheetah coalition; it’s really exciting to see Kesho as a first-time mum,” Michelle said.

“She is doing a fantastic job caring for her young and tending to their every need. For the time being, we’re giving the family complete privacy and monitoring the cubs’ development via a security camera in the den.”

The world’s fastest animal, the cheetah is also Africa’s most endangered big cat with only 6,700 estimated to be remaining in the wild of eastern and south-western Africa. “It’s devastating to think that in the last 35 years, we’ve lost almost half of the wild cheetah population,” Michelle said.

“The decline is primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and the killing and capture of cheetah to protect livestock against predation. This decline makes breeding programs like ours incredibly important to secure the future of this species.”

The cubs will stay in a private area of the zoo until they’re old enough for their public debut in the not too distant future.