Safari park Beekse Bergen welcomes cheetah cubs

The baby cheetahs. Photo Beekse Bergen

Two cheetah cubs have been born at the Beekse Bergen safari park in Hilvarenbeek as part of a European breeding programme.

“The female cheetah was only brought here from France at the end of October and not even four months later we have cubs!,” chief keeper Christian Meurrens said.

Cheetah pregnancies only last three months and this was a first for the new female, he said. “She had three but one died, which is not unusual when an animal gives birth for the first time.It took longer and something went wrong in the process,” Meurrens said.

The cheetahs will stay inside for the next few weeks until the cubs are strong enough to face the outside world.

Beekse Bergen coordinates the European breeding programme for cheetahs. “We think its important to match genetically healthy cheetahs so we can have a healthy population in European zoos. We’re very happy with our two new additions,” curator Lars Versteege said.

The safari park welcomed another cheetah for breeding purposes from Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem some weeks ago. “We can see that they like each other but whether there will be cubs we don’t know,” Versteege said.

Cheetahs are an endangered species with only 7,000 left in the wild, and the biggest concentration is in Botswana. “Cheetahs are facing multiple threats. Some 75% live outside protected areas and come into conflict with cattle farmers and that has consequences for cheetahs,” Meurrens said.

The safari parks also supports cheetah protection initiatives on the ground.

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