Whipsnade welcomes a new cheetah
Thursday 24 February 2005
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is delighted to welcome a female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) to the Park. The cheetah has hot footed it to the wilds of Bedfordshire for a true Bridget Jones style holiday away from her man
Our speedy new arrival is officially on 'sex leave' from Hamerton Zoo in Cambridgeshire, as in the world of the cheetah it certainly seems that absence does make the heart grow fonder! Cheetahs can breed all year round and research has shown that when females are separated from males their fertility increases on their return. So this girlie holiday will hopefully aid the essential captive breeding programme for this endangered animal!
Captive cheetahs have an average life expectancy of 13 to 15 years so can potentially give birth to around 30 cubs over the next ten years, which is why it is so important that they contribute to the captive breeding programme.
- Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals, reaching speeds or more than 100 kilometres per hour
- Cheetahs can only run at their top speed for relatively short distances (about 300m), so they prefer to creep up on their prey before springing into action
- Cheetahs have distinctive black 'tear-mark' stripes running from the eye to the mouth
- Cheetahs are endangered due to habitat loss, conflict with humans and loss of prey
- The gestation period for a cheetah is 90 to 95 days with a litter averaging from 1 to 6 cubs
- The cubs will stay with their mother for 14 to 18 months.