We are absolutely delighted to announce that on 14th April 2014, female cheetah Salomé gave birth to 3 cheetah cubs.
The best news is that 2 of them are the rare King Cheetahs!
Salomé also gave birth to a healthy litter in 2012, so this is her second litter, and Tristan is the father.
A little more information on Salomé
Salomé is the daughter of Sheila. Sheila broke her leg while she was pregnant, and therefore she gave birth to Salomé and siblings in the Centre Manager’s house. Mrs Roode assisted with the birth, as Sheila couldn’t easily move with her hind leg in a cast.
Why are King Cheetah so rare?
The king cheetah is a rare mutation of the ‘normal’ cheetah, characterized by a distinct fur pattern, which appears like stripes on it’s back.
Once considered a separate species, the King Cheetah differs distinctively from the normal spotted cheetah only in it’s coat pattern. While a normal cheetah is generally a yellowish, golden color and dappled with small, black spots, the King Cheetah has spots that run together to form several (usually 3) black stripes down it’s back, and large, irregular blotches on it’s sides.
The King Cheetah’s unique pattern is due entirely to a recessive gene. Cheetahs who are normal-colored, but have the king cheetah gene, can produce king cheetah cubs, because parents who carry both the normal-colored gene and the king gene can give either to their babies. The king gene mutation is recessive, or hidden, so the offspring must inherit it from both parents in order to be king cheetahs, which is one reason why it is so rare.
Two more baby King cheetahs were born at the Big Cat and Endangered Wildlife Centre in September last year, so this is another 2 to add to the growing number of king cheetah.
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