A litter of five cheetah cubs has made its first public appearance at Monarto Zoo in South Australia.
The cubs and their mother, Nakula, are open to viewing from the public after spending the past 14 weeks in an off-limits facility.
Carnivore keeper Michelle Lloyd said that while the milestone is important for the cheetah breeding program, it holds extra significance for the zoo.
“It’s been nine years since we last had a Cheetah litter at Monarto and, amazingly, Nakula was one of the cubs born in the last litter all those years ago,” she said.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch the cubs running around on exhibit; they’re very energetic and definitely love the space.
“Nakula has a big job keeping up with them all but she’s doing great.”
Visitors to the zoo in January will be able to see the five cubs - two males and three females - on display next to their big sister, Kwatile, Nakula’s single cub who was born and hand raised in June last year.
While the most recent litter has been raised by their mother Nakula, zookeepers now have more hands on contact with them, allowing for important training and conditioning.
“It’s really important for the cubs’ development that they’re comfortable around us, especially when it comes to doing veterinary procedures,” keeper Michelle Lloyd said.
“It’s been going really well, we were able to do their second vaccinations by hand which is much less stressful for all involved and, funnily enough, no one’s complaining about having to spend time with the cubs.”