Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Cheetah cubs

Note that the original image here was ripped off of this blog. Sorry.

National Zoo Cheetahs - National Zoo unveils 4 cheetah cubs:

A phalanx of photographers and journalists jostled for the best view as the 10-week-old cubs -- two males and two females -- bounded outside with their mother, Tumai, for their first public appearance.

The fluffy cubs romped around in something they would not likely have experienced in their native Africa: snow.

The cubs were born Nov. 23 and are now the size of house cats, weighing about 10 pounds. They will reach their adult weight of 100 pounds when they are about a year old and may then go to other zoos in North America to take part in a breeding conservation program.

I was going to make some point, but “Ohhhhhhhhh.

I think I was going to say something about how complicated conserving cheetah's has been. There are about 15,000 left, but historical management reduced the genetic diversity, so there's a lot of inbreeding and bizarre malformations in a lot of cheetahs. There's a strong sense in the conservation community that cheetah's may not be able to outrun extinction.

The last known wild cheetah in India was hunted in 1948. A distribution that went throughout Africa and Asia is now restricted to southern Africa. That's a combination of hunting and land use changes. The inbreeding has resulted in a survival rate for cheetah cubs of 90% at three months in zoos and parks.

Good luck little guys.

Speedy Marie ” by Frank Black from the album Teenager of the Year (1994, 3:34).