Wildlife Safari is AZA-accredited: http://www.wildlifesafari.org
ERIK SKOOG, email@example.com
May 18, 2007
Breeding cheetahs requires more than putting two cheetahs in a pen for months at a time, said Becca McCloskey, Wildlife Safari’s cheetah manager.
“It’s moving cats, it’s introducing cats … it’s a pretty labor-intensive process, but it’s a process that we know works” McCloskey said. “Last year, we did the same thing but nothing happened.”
This year, two pairs of cheetahs were able to produce four- and three-cheetah litters, despite the fact cheetahs are also high-stress animals. An average litter can consist of up to six cheetah cubs.
“In city zoos, they have such small land that they might not have breeding capabilities (or) they might have health issues,” said Modesto McClean, the safari’s senior veterinarian. “Here … it’s the ambiance that’s the success of the cheetah breeding program.”
Moving the cheetahs from place to place works almost because it’s stressful on the animals, McCloskey said.
“The kiss of death for any breeding program is boredom,” she said.
Keeping the males and females away from each other also helps the breeding program because in the wild, McCloskey said, the male would hunt a female in heat.
“If a male lives with a female … usually what’ll happen is they won’t do anything,” she said.