One of the biggest litters of successfully reared cheetahs in the UK has made their first public appearance at Longleat.
Born in August, the four cheetah cubs have been busy exploring the great outdoors at the Wiltshire wildlife attraction, while keeping mum Wilma close by.
However, it wasn’t long before the cubs started venturing further afield and even tested out their famous turn of speed. Cheetahs are the world’s quickest land animals and capable of top speeds of 71 miles per hour.
“Over the last few weeks all four cubs have become increasingly active and curious,” said head carnivore keeper Amy Waller.
“You can never predict quite how they will react to going outside with its new sights, sounds and smells but they took it all in their stride.
“Wilma is a great mum and although she is quite protective she also seemed happy to let the cubs go exploring.
“They enjoyed running around and chasing each other for a while, however they quickly wore themselves out and came back to enjoy a snooze with Wilma,” she added.
This is the largest number of cubs ever raised at Longleat, and the seventh cubs for mum Wilma and dad Carl, following the arrival of Poppy and Winston who were born in 2016.
“Both parents have very valuable genetics within the European Endangered Species Programme population as they came to us from a captive breeding population in Pretoria, South Africa,” said Amy.
“This means their cubs, are also genetically distinct from the vast majority of the cheetah within Europe, which means they are even more important,” she added.
The cheetah is officially classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species which means it is likely to become ‘Endangered’ unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
For further information on visiting Longleat go to www.longleat.co.uk