Four baby cheetahs show off their spots at Parc Safari
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018 3:37PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2018 11:41AM EDT
Four baby cheetahs made their first outing with their mother this week, ten weeks after being born at Parc Safari.
The wildlife park in Hemmingford now has six healthy baby cheetahs in its midst.
In a Quebec first, four cheetah kittens were born in May 2017. A few weeks ago, another four were born healthy.
Two litters of cheetah have been delivered in Quebec - both at Parc Safari.
"We are happy that this year she had four cubs," explained Nathalie Santerre, director of Zoology at Parc Safari. "She had no problem with gestation, no problem giving birth - and she's actually a really good mother.
Though they're tiny now, weighing between 4 and 4.5 kg each at 10 weeks old, the cubs will grow up to be the fastest land animals on earth.
The cheetahs were all born to the same mother, Akeelah, and their births took place without any human intervention, though an emergency team was on site just in case.
So far, Akeelah has been rearing the babies on her own in a maternity den without any human interaction.
"We're completely hands off with the cubs. If mom takes care of them, we do not interfere at all," Santerre said.
Zoologists at Parc Safari monitor the cubs' progess with cameras.
Mosi and Jelani were born last year - the first cheetah cubs born in Quebec - and are sociable with humans because they were bottle-fed.
Born to the same mother as the new cubs, complications at birth meant Akeelah couldn't nurse them.
This year, two males and two females were added to the cheetah den.
"Brothers will stay together forever," Santerrre explained. "The females are solitary - which is a bit funny. [Cheetahs] are the only cats in the feline family have that type of social structure."
The birth of the cubs is part of global conservation effort, since the cheetah population is on the decline. They're extinct in Asia, and only 7,000 are left in Africa.
The cause? Loss of habitat.
In nature reserves, they fall prey to bigger predators, and in the wild, they face poachers or farmers protecting their livestock.
Parc Safari is part of the SSD program - a species survival plan. In conjunction with universities and zoos, they're working to continue breeding cheetahs in captivity.
The newest cubs will move into their new habitat in a few weeks time.
"The cubs are already quite curious, so Akeelah's going to have a lot of work to do, I think, to keep them together," Santerre said.
With a report from CTV's Angela Mackenzie.