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FOTA CELEBRATES BIRTH OF 1st BABY CHEETAH IN 5 YEARS

The Cub was born on the 20th of September and becomes the 179th cheetah to have been bred in the East Cork attraction since it first began rearing cheetahs in 1984. The birth which is the first in 5 years at Fota Wildlife Park is also significant in that it is the first Northern Cheetah born at the park.

The cheetah has been hand-reared at Fota Wildlife Park by Head Warden Willie Duffy since he was two days old.  “As the mother was a first time mum it can often happen that she finds it hard to look after the cub and it sometimes requires for us to step in and help nurture it” said Mr Duffy who has taken care of him for the last 5 weeks.

Speaking at Fota earlier today, Director of Fota Wildlife Park, Sean McKeown said, “All of the staff at the park are delighted with the birth of our baby cheetah that has made exceptional progress since his birth.” He added that “female cheetahs in the wild do not rear a cub when there is a single cub in the litter, as happened in this case as the mother’s milk dried up because there is not enough milk with only one cub suckling.” The cheetah cub will now be seen by visitors to Fota Wildlife Park at their incubation house where they will be asked to suggest a name via social media for the cub.

Fota Wildlife Park is highly involved in the global Cheetah Conservation Programme and its Director Sean McKeown is the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) Coordinator for the Northern Cheetah. In this role Mr McKeown has many tasks to fulfil, such as collecting information on the status of all the Northern Cheetahs kept in EAZA zoos and parks, producing a studbook, carrying out demographical and genetical analyses, and producing a plan for the future management of the species.

Cheetahs bred in Fota Wildlife Park have been sent to many breeding centres around the world over the last 29 years as part of the endangered species programme. This involvement in such programmes helps ensure that the worlds fastest animal does not become extinct with an estimated 250 Northern Cheetahs existing in the wild, thus the birth of a cub marks an exciting time at the park.

Fota Wildlife Park is now asking the public to suggest a name for the male cub via their Facebook Page or on Twitter using #FOTACHEETAHCUB. The person who chooses the name the park like the most will get to see the cheetah up close on one of the park’s newly launched Wild Experiences which takes individuals and families behind the scenes at Cork’s most visited attraction.