Monarto, SOUTH AUSTRALIA — May 15, 2023 – Monarto Safari Park vet Jerome Kalvas and keeper Michelle Lloyd no longer have to join the dots when it comes to determining the sex of Cheetah Qailee’s litter after performing a full health check on the eight and nine week-old cubs.
“We have a boy and a girl as well as the female foster cub. It’s great news,” said Jerome.
The three cubs were each weighed, microchipped, vaccinated and given a body condition score with Jerome giving each one the clean bill of health.
“As we’d expect, the cross-fostered cub, who is one week older, is slightly heavier than the other two. All three are in excellent health and have a good body condition.
“It’s interesting to compare the cubs as the one that was bottle fed for one week has less of a mantle than the other two. The mantle is a thick silvery stripe of fur that runs down the Cheetah’s back and is used for camouflage in the wild. Her mantle will eventually grow as big and bushy as the others,” finished Jerome.
After their health checks and vaccinations the cubs were returned to their den with mum Qailee. The family were quick to reunite and go on their adventures in their cubbing habitat.
The cubs will not be visible to the public until they are around four months old.
Qailee’s sister Quella gave birth the singleton cub in early March. Unfortunately singletons rarely survive as the female does not produce enough milk. Natural instinct dictates that the mum abandons the cub so that she can breed again.
Keepers and vet staff at Monarto Safari Park stepped in to save and cross-foster the cub in an Australasian first. With guidance from the international zoo community, the cub was hand-reared until Quella’s sister Qailee gave birth to her litter where the singleton cub was added with Qailee quick to adopt and feed her.
The Cheetah species is in a spot of trouble with the IUCN estimating less than eight thousand of the species survive in the wild. Zoos SA, which operates Monarto Safari Park and sister site Adelaide Zoo, supports the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The fund is established to benefit the ecosystem on which Cheetahs depend as well as running a Lifestock Guarding Dogs (LGD) to reduce livestock losses to predators.
As well as on display at Monarto Safari Park, a coalition of Cheetah will also roam the Wild Africa safari. As one of the largest safaris outside of Africa, Wild Africa will see the intrepid visitor travelling in open-sided vehicles through hectare upon hectare of species-filled wild plains. A luxury hotel and resort is set to open by the end of the year offering views across bustling waterholes.
Monarto Safari Park’s Cheetah are proudly supported by Kimbolton Wines.
Autor Andrew Bleiman