Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A German zoo has announced plans for a special breeding programme for cheetahs in danger of becoming extinct.
The plans were announced by the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden in the city of Stuttgart in the south-western German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
According to an official press release obtained by Newsflash, the zoo has turned a former polar bear enclosure into an area suitable for the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) programme.
The initiative has been supported by the Society of Friends and Patrons who donated EUR 180,000 (GBP 155,000) to the breeding programme, as well as EUR 25,000 (GBP 22,000) to the protection programme of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia.
Chairman association Professor Georg Fundel said: “We want to support Wilhelma in pursuing its goals, to secure the population of cheetahs in Africa and to build up a reserve population in zoos. The funding is a good contribution to this.”
The zoo’s cat curator Ulrike Rademacher said: “In the wild, female cheetahs are solitary. The males often live in groups with one or more other male cats, they are often brothers.”
According to the curator, cheetahs of different sexes that are kept together all the time eventually lose interest in each other.
The zoo brought in two young cheetah cubs Haraka and Zawadi at the end of 2019 and most recently three-year-old Niara, selected by the European breeding coordinator of Salzburg Zoo.
Wilhelma director Thomas Kolpin said: “It’s difficult for many to imagine that even the fastest land mammal in the world cannot escape extinction fate.”
One of the reasons for the declining numbers of cheetahs is believed to be because they have a tendency to kill cattle, which means they are often killed by farmers.
There are an estimated 7,500 cheetahs living in the wild, making them more endangered than lions or leopards in Africa.
At the beginning of the year, Wilhelma was the first zoo and botanical garden in Germany to join the global initiative ‘United for biodiversity’ formed by the European Commission.
The initiative, joined by national parks, research centres and science and natural history museums, aims to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
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