Having announced late last week the birth of three Northern cheetah cubs (Acinonyx j. soemmeringii) to mother Gráinne and father Sam, Fota Wildlife Park are calling on the public to suggest the names for the adorable new additions to the park animal community.
The Park, which re-opened its gates on the 20th May after an eight-week closure due to the Covid-19 restrictions, saw breeding programmes and conservation work continue behind the scenes during this time.
Now exactly 13 weeks old, the three cubs, all males, were born on St Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 2020 and they bring the number of cheetahs born at Fota Wildlife Park to over 230 since the breeding programme began in 1985.
As the cubs are unnamed, why not make your suggestion to www.fotawildlife.ie/blog – and be in with a chance to win one of three year-long annual passes.
In total, four cubs were born on St Patrick’s Day however one cub did not survive after living for only four days.
New mother Gráinne was born in Fota on 29th May, 2017 and father, Sam was born on 26th December, 2015 at Wadi al Safa Wildlife Centre in Dubai, UAE and transferred to Fota on 14th June, 2017.
Gráinne is fourth generation captive born, and this is her first litter, and this is Sam’s third litter of cubs and the cubs are the first fifth generation of Northern cheetah born in a zoological institution.
The Park lost over €1.2 million in income during the Covid closure and faced a monthly bill of over €30,000 in feeding costs alone.
Cheetahs are listed globally as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and there are only 7,100 remaining in the wild.
However, the Northern cheetah subspecies is considered Endangered as there are less than 800 left in the wild.
Fota Wildlife Park coordinates the European Breeding and management programmes for the Northern cheetah and there are currently 129 Northern cheetahs in 23 Zoological institutions throughout Europe and the Middle East.
The Cork park, who are now operating a pre-booking on-line system to comply with social distancing requirements, is a not for profit conservation organisation.