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Cheetah cubs to take centre stage at zoo

Mysore, May 22, 2012, DHNS : 22:12 IST

Cynosure

quick as a flash: The cheetah, Maya, seen with her cubs at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysore. dh photo
Five newly-born cheetah cubs would be kept for public display at the spacious enclosure on May 24 at 11 am.

Cheetah is the fastest among mammals and picks up a speed of 105-120 km/hour within three seconds of the start.

Another cheetah, Brinda and its three cubs (1:2) were released to public display after three months of intensive care. Due to the experience gained during the first litter, the zoo has decided to release the newly born five cubs (3:2) after 55 days only in view of the increased interest and enthusiasm among the animal lovers, according to a press release from the zoo executive director B P Ravi.

The zoo received four (2:2) Cheetahs (Acinonyxjubatus) from Rhino Lion Nature Reserves, Muldersdrift, Brodedtrstroom, South Africa, on behalf of Leipzig Zoo, Germany, by animal exchange programme on March 26, 2011.

On arrival, out of two females, one female named Brinda was in mid-stage of pregnancy and gave birth to three cubs after arrival. All three cubs survived and are doing well.

Another female named Maya, now aged about six years, was very weak and had recurrent lameness of left forelimb on arrival. Prolonged treatment and nutritional care was given to bring the animal to normal health.

Compatibility

Breeding of cheetah Maya was planned with a male cheetah named Tejas, aged about six years. On December 5, 2011 cheetah Tejas was shifted to adjacent room of cheetah Maya and observations revealed good communication and gesture to one another.

After 15 days they were paired and found good compatibility. The pair was kept together during day time for observation and kept separately in adjacent rooms in the night hours to prevent any infighting. Since, mating activities was not observed till February 14, 2012, pairing with another male named Arjun was planned. However, pairing with cheetah Arjun was found incompatible.

Subsequently, based on behavioural changes and physical appearance cheetah Maya was suspected to be impregnated by cheetah Tejas.

Continuous monitoring

Continuous monitoring and examination in squeeze cage was made to access the stage of pregnancy. Food and nutritional supplements were increased. Due care was taken to prevent any disturbance and good hygiene measures were followed in animal enclosures.

By March17, 2012, foetal movements in the abdomen were prominently seen. It was becoming more lethargic and used to relax for a long time. On March 25, 2012, it was found that the animal had well develop mammary glands and was about to deliver in a couple of days. With past experience of breeding cheetah Brinda, measures for providing facilities for giving birth were prepared.

CCTV

Three holding rooms adjacent to one another were prepared to provide undisturbed dark place for giving birth and neonatal care. CCTV infrared (day and night vision) cameras were placed for undisturbed monitoring and recording round-the-clock.

On March 29, 2012, cheetah Maya delivered five healthy cubs. It took 12 hours to deliver all five cubs. Nutritional supplementation with twice a day feeding was given for better milk production to take care of five cubs.

All cubs were nursed very well and are growing healthy. Maternal care and neonatal behaviour is being monitored through CCTV and only one animal keeper is entrusted to enter the adjacent room for providing food and water.

M Nanjundaswamy, Chairman Zoo Authority of Karnataka will release the newly born cubs to the enclosure. R S Suresh, additional principal chief conservator of Forests and member secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka will be present on this occasion.

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