Press Release – Wellington Zoo
Two male Cheetahs from Orana Wildlife Park are heading north next week to their new home at Wellington Zoo. Five-year-old brothers Cango and Shomari will arrive at Wellington Airport next Wednesday.
“We’re really excited to welcome the two boys to Wellington Zoo and have them as part of our Cheetah Ambassador programme,” said Amanda Tiffin, Wellington Zoo Life Science Manager.
“Visitors will have a chance to get hands-on with them in a Close Encounter, of which a portion of the profits supports the Anatolian Guard Dog project at Cheetah Outreach – a conservation project in South Africa that helps to protect wild Cheetahs. Wellington Zoo already supports the care of one dog in this programme, his name is Wellington.”
Charlie, Wellington Zoo’s resident Cheetah, was hand-raised at Cheetah Outreach and came to Wellington with his brother Delta in 2005.
Wellington Zoo is offering a rare opportunity for a lucky Trade Me bidder to be the first to see these beautiful and charismatic cats – including being there with Zoo staff when they arrive at Wellington airport, a behind-the-scenes experience as they are introduced to their new home at the Zoo, and a Close Encounter with Cango, Shomari and their keepers.
“Female Cheetahs are fairly solitary animals, while males are more social, spending time in sibling groups like Cango and Shomari are. These two brothers will move into Charlie’s current exhibit, and Charlie will be able to enjoy his own space at the top of the Zoo in the Africa precinct,” explained Amanda.
Visitors will be able to see Cango and Shomari in their new home from Thursday 29 May, and can schedule a Cheetah Close Encounter with them from Saturday 21 June.
Press Release – Orana Wildlife Park
Next Wednesday Orana Wildlife Park farewells Cango and Shomari, two hand-raised cheetah. The five-year-olds will be transferred to Wellington Zoo to join the Cheetah Ambassador Programme.
Head Keeper of Exotic Mammals, Rob Clifford, says: “Cango and Shomari, along with their brother and sister, were hand-raised by staff from day one. Their inexperienced mother left them so our dedicated team worked tirelessly to ensure their survival.
The cats have been very popular during their time at Orana. For a number of years, visitors had the opportunity to enter the cheetah habitat for a personal encounter with the curious cats. Visitors delighted at patting a purring cheetah and the boys especially enjoyed the experience!
Our team will miss Cango and Shomari but their brother and sister will remain here and contribute to our breeding programme.”
Orana is the only New Zealand zoo breeding these quick cats as part of the zoo-based breeding programme. To date, eighteen cats have been raised to adulthood at Orana, a noteworthy achievement as cheetah are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity. Only a small number of zoos worldwide have experienced repeated breeding success with the species.
“We are hopeful of producing more cheetah cubs later this year. Meantime, our staff are enjoying working with our six month old ratbag youngsters, Boo and Lion, who were originally set for transfer to Wellington Zoo. Now, they will remain at Orana and visitors can enjoy seeing them grow” concludes Rob.