Park's cheetah cubs flourish after early setback
By SAM SACHDEVA - The Press
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2009
Orana Wildlife Park's abandoned cheetah cubs are now bigger and bolder and about to mark their first Christmas together.
When Cango, Shomari, Kunjuka and Mazza were rejected by their mother shortly after their birth in April, park keepers had to work around the clock to ensure their survival.
Exotic mammals head keeper Graeme Petrie said the animals were thriving.
"They're putting on a lot of weight and conditioning. I'll come back after a weekend and you can just see the growth in them."
While the keepers initially had to feed, toilet and clean the cubs, he said, their work now consisted of ensuring they got enough exercise and had a proper diet.
Tennis balls, sticks and frisbees kept the cheetahs entertained, while their meals consisted mainly of horse meat, with a weekly treat of chicken.
Petrie said each cheetah was a "totally different cat", having developed distinct personality traits.
"The little madam [Mazza] is a bit of a stirrer. Cango's the biggest of the three boys and he's quite relaxed. Shomari is No2 and Kunjuka's the smallest, so he can be more aggressive."
Petrie said a "girlfriend" for the males would arrive from Africa in February.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org