The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is very proud to be able to introduce two new baby king cheetahs to the world!
The magnificent and rare king cheetah was first discovered in 1926, where it was thought to be a completely new and exciting species – a strange hybrid between a cheetah and a leopard. Although we now know that it is not a new species, but in fact just a pattern variation of a normal spotted cheetah, no one can dispute the fact that the king cheetah is possibly the most beautiful of Africa’s wild cats.
King cheetahs have been reported in the wild, including a sighting in the Kruger National Park in 1974, but are incredibly rare, even in captivity. As the distinctive fur pattern is caused by a rare mutation of a recessive gene, both parents must carry the ‘king gene’ in order for the offspring to show off the spectacular markings of a king cheetah.
Tilla, mother of the cubs, is not a king cheetah but carries the recessive gene, while father Tristan is a king cheetah. Two cubs being born to the same litter is incredibly rare.
The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre focuses on the conservation of rare, vulnerable or endangered animals. Cheetah conservation is one of their core disciplines. The centre is actively involved in the breeding of endangered, vulnerable or rare animal species, the release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs to the wild, the treatment and rehabilitation of orphaned or injured animals and the education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation activities.