Caldwell Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a litter of cheetah cubs, a significant milestone for both the zoo and the conservation of this magnificent species. The three cubs are the offspring of the mother, Orchid, and father, Flap. The first cub was born on May 31st around 7:38 PM and the third arrived just before midnight. The mother is being very attentive and the cubs are comfortably nursing, which is exactly the type of motherly care we’d hope for. The new arrivals mark a remarkable achievement for the Caldwell Zoo’s breeding program, which aims to support the conservation efforts for cheetahs and educate the public about their importance in the ecosystem.
“Our whole team at the zoo is so happy to announce this news of a new litter of cheetah cubs born here. The cheetah keepers work tirelessly on the welfare and wellbeing of the cheetahs in our care,” says Steve Marshall, President and CEO of the Caldwell Zoo. “Now, we will give the young family everything they need to grow and thrive.”
Gestation typically goes for around ninety days, and the keeper team has been closely observing Orchid throughout her pregnancy while making sure she has everything a mother cheetah could want. Orchid has a private area with several choices of dens for her to use. She chose an exterior den that was custom built for her. At this point, it’s extremely important to give the young family peace, quiet and privacy. The keeper team will use strategically installed cameras to discreetly monitor the situation. So, we are especially thankful for our recently updated breeding center so that the new mother can have all the privacy she requires.
“The first few hours are crucial,” says Ricki, a keeper for the Mammals 1 department. “We definitely want Orchid to do the mothering, but sometimes first-time mothers don’t have the instincts they need to care for the offspring. In that case, we’d have to gather up the cubs and bottle-raise them in order to save them.”
The birth of these cubs is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the executive team, zookeepers, and veterinary staff, who have worked for years to develop a sophisticated conservation program to help save these incredible cats from extinction. As a member of the Cheetah Breeding Coalition, the Caldwell Zoo works closely with other accredited zoological organizations to responsibly breed these famously shy felines. It takes special facilities and incredible teamwork to give cheetahs all the comforts they require in order to mate. Orchid, the mother, was brought to the Caldwell Zoo from the White Oak Conservation Center and carefully introduced to suitors, Flap and Junya, from the Cincinnati Zoo. Orchid chose Flap and the three cubs are the offspring of their union.
“This isn’t just a big deal for the zoo,” shares Kara, a keeper with the Mammals 1 team, “it’s a big deal for an endangered species. Every one of these cubs is precious.”
Cheetahs are an iconic and endangered species, facing numerous threats in the wild, including habitat loss and poaching. By participating in responsible breeding programs, we are actively contributing to the preservation of these magnificent animals for future generations. The Caldwell Zoo is dedicated to conservation and education, striving to instill a sense of awe and respect for the natural world in all who visit. The birth of these cheetah cubs reinforces our commitment to protecting endangered species and raising awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation.
We invite the public and media to join us in celebrating the arrival of these cheetah cubs, although patience is required. The young family will remain in a private area for a few weeks to allow the mother and cubs to bond and grow strong. For updates and further information about the cheetah family and other exciting happenings at the zoo, please visit our website at www.caldwellzoo.org.
Caldwell Zoo is a premier zoological park committed to wildlife conservation, education, and creating memorable experiences for visitors of all ages. With a diverse collection of animals from around the world and engaging exhibits, the zoo aims to inspire and instill a passion for wildlife and the natural world.