WATCH: Colchester Zoo’s baby cheetahs open eyes for first time
- Credit: Archant
The five newest arrivals at Colchester Zoo have now opened their eyes - and keepers want your help naming the five cheetah cubs.
The zoo’s female cheetah Sia successfully gave birth to five cubs on April 14, and a check-up by the animal care team on April 28 shows the litter are all a healthy weight after two weeks. In another two weeks they are expected to be steady on their paws but it will be up to mum Sia to decide when they are strong enough to leave their den.
The medical exam also revealed that three of the cubs are female and two are male - with staff at Colchester Zoo turning to the public for help naming the little big cats.
A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said: “Now we have an idea of the genders, we’re starting to think of names for them.
“We would like three of the names to begin with an N, H and S – in honour of all the amazing frontline staff working hard to save lives.
“Naming three of the cubs in honour of the NHS is just one way in which we can show our appreciation for their dedication to protecting and saving lives whilst putting their own lives at risk.”
You may also want to watch:
Some cubs will be named by the keepers, but submissions from the public will be shortlisted and a vote will be held on the Colchester Zoo website in aid of the zoo’s operating fund.
Donations for the names will be made online and the name which raises the most money will be chosen for the cubs.
- 1 A12 closed by police after serious collision
- 2 Swimmers report sickness symptoms after dip in Suffolk river
- 3 'A rut had set in and it needed to change... we will have got one or two wrong' - Cook on his Ipswich Town squad cull
- 4 Haverhill firm goes into liquidation with just £2.42 in the bank
- 5 Evans on Town's 'powerful' mantra, not shying away from favourites tag and working under Cook again
- 6 Edmundson ruled out of opener as Cook discusses 'four, five or six' more transfers
- 7 Family 'devastated' after elderly man's Reliant Robin tipped over
- 8 Olly Murs in hospital after leg injury from Newmarket Nights gig
- 9 Nearly 20,000 parking fines since council took control of enforcement
- 10 Suffolk pub reopens with exclusive Champagne carvery
“The birth of these cheetahs came during such an unprecedented time and gave us all hope and reassurance, a message from nature to say that life continues despite the crisis we’re all facing,” the spokesman added.
“Perhaps the name Hope is quite appropriate for the name beginning with H but we’d love to hear suggestions from the public.”
In the video from zoo staff, the team can be seen weighing the cubs and checking their sex, with their distinctive fur and face markings already visible.
The average cheetah litter is between three and four cubs, so keepers were surprised at the number of arrivals and hope all five cubs survive into adulthood.
Cheetahs come from sub-Saharan Africa and small areas of the Middle East.
They are classed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and it is estimated there are just 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild.
• Do you have a suggestion for the names of Colchester’s newest cheetahs? Contact Colchester Zoo via social media to share your thoughts!