Last Friday 20 October, Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s three Cheetah juvenile cubs turned one!
This time last year, we celebrated the arrival of the cubs to mother Kyan and father Jana. It was a momentous birth, as the first successful litter Kyan had raised, following the birth of single cub in 2015 which was hand raised by Zoo Keepers.
Kyan has done a wonderful job mothering Obi, Nyasa and Zahara, giving them her full attention and displaying all the right maternal behaviours. One year on, and she’s taken a step back as a mother, allowing them to be much more independent as juveniles.
The youngsters have developed very distinct personalities, particularly in the last few months. Nyasa, a female, is the bravest of the three, and is often the first to discover new things and get involved in enrichment activities. Obi, the male cub, is a little shyer and tends to stay back and let his sisters test the water! Zahara, another female, is well known for her sweet, gentle personality, and our Keepers are pleased to report she has made a full recovery following specialist surgery on her hind leg in August.
All three have healthy appetites, and are currently eating 1.4 kilograms of meat each per day!
Once they are 18-24 months of age, we’ll start to see the trio become completely independent of their mother. In the wild, female Cheetahs usually become totally solitary around this age, while the males tend to develop a coalition with other males. Our Keepers will make arrangements for the Cheetah based on their natural behaviours in the wild. For now though, Kyan is still very much a part of her cubs’ lives and continues to watch over them, as a mother does!
For much of the day, Kyan and the trio of cubs rest together in the shade, even more so as the weather warms up. The best time to see Cheetahs at the Zoo is in the mornings, when they are most active, and at their 11.35am feed.