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New faces at Parc Safari Cheetah kittens

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Parc Safari Cheetah kittens – Four cheetahs were born recently at Parc Safari, a zoo about 45 minutes south of Montreal. In 2017, two cheetah kittens were also born at Parc Safari. This is good news for the long-term survival of this big cat native to Africa and Asia. Capable of achieving speeds over 100 kilometres an hour, the cheetah bears the distinction of being the fastest land animal. But in its native range, it is fast disappearing.

“With a dwindling worldwide population year after year, each new litter is very, very important,” exclaimed Nathalie Santerre, Director of Zoology and Conservation. “It’s very important to keep a healthy population in captivity, so maybe one day we’ll be able to reintroduce cheetahs into the wild. It is challenging to breed cheetahs, partially because of a lack of genetic diversity in the species, and low fertility rates.”

“Most facilities (i.e. zoos) are not able to have healthy litters or natural breeding, you can have as many cheetahs as you want, it does not mean they will actually breed. As a result, Parc Safari’s four new cubs are actually very important for North America and all the team is really proud to have achieved such an event.”

The four kittens all bear Swahili names: Bemba (male): meaning “affectionate;” Ilanga (female): meaning “sun;” Imani (female): in honour of an inspiring female of the Masai Mara National Reserve and Malik (male): meaning “king.” Their mother, Akeelah, who is doing well, also gave birth to kittens Mosi and Jelanie in 2017. Visitors to Parc Safari will be able to see the newest kittens by about July 21.

There are only about 7,000 wild cheetahs worldwide with the species facing a real risk of extinction according to Wikipedia. Major threats to the cheetah include habitat loss, targeting by farmers, and roadkill. As wild populations of many big game species decline, biologists are trying to keep these species alive by breeding them in zoos.

Parc Safari features lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, elephants, and more. It is mainly outdoor zoo featuring a drive-through section where visitors stay in their cars and watch animals who have room to roam. There is also a water-park here, among other attractions.

The zoo is open 10 am to 7 pm everyday from now till Aug. 26. Starting Aug. 27, more restrictive opening hours apply but the zoo remains open every day until Sept. 30. In October, the zoo is closed some days and open on others. The zoo closes definitively for the 2018 season after Oct. 28.

High season (summer) entrance tickets for one day cost $37 for adults and $15 to $25 for most youths at Parc Safari. Season passes are also available.

Parc Safari

280 Rang Roxham

Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Qc

J0J 1V0

www.parcsafari.com

450-247-2727

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