Fota Wildlife Park unveils competition to name cheetah cubs

Co Cork sanctuary welcomes new arrivals with public contest for year’s membership

Nimpy with her four cubs in Fota park. Photograph: Liam McConville

Nimpy with her four cubs in Fota park. Photograph: Liam McConville

 

Four northern cheetah cubs have been born at Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork in recent weeks and the park has announced a public contest to name the new cubs.

The northern cheetah is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The 100-acre wildlife park is located on Fota island, in Cork harbour.

The six-week-old cubs are being kept in the den where they were born on November 12th, but can be viewed by visitors to the park via a camera.

The wildlife park has announced a competition to name the four cubs, with the entrants whose suggested names are chosen to win a year-long membership to the park.

Three of a kind: Photograph: Liam McConville
Three of a kind: Photograph: Liam McConville

Kelly Lambe, lead park ranger, said they were “delighted” to welcome the new cubs to the park. There are about 500 northern cheetahs left alive in the world.

“Cheetahs face many threats to their population including the conversion of their natural habitat, grasslands, to agricultural zones, conflict with humans and competition for food with other large predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas,” she said.

The cheetah was “the most recognisable species” at the wildlife park, and makes up part of the Fota park logo, said Ms Lambe.

The cubs’ parents, Nimpy and Claude, are both aged nine and came to the Cork wildlife park in 2012. The pair arrived from La Palmyre Zoo, in southwest France, under the European Endangered Species Programme.

The mother, Nimpy, has successfully bred cubs before. But the recent birth is the first time Claude has bred since coming to the Fota park.

“To date over 200 cheetahs have been born here since 1985 and many have formed part of co-operative breeding programmes in wildlife parks and zoos across Europe,” said Ms Kelly.