A first-time cheetah mom, gave birth to the healthy female cub on February 18, 2009 at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, park officials announced earlier this month.
The cub is a direct result of sound research reported earlier this year describing a male vocalization called a stutter-bark.
A first time mother named Kenya responded to the recording of the stutter bark and this cute little girl cub (seen at the left) is the result.
For two reasons this could be a big help to increasing the numbers of captive cheetahs:
1. Cheetahs can be difficult to breed in captivity
2. Female cheetah do not have regular ovulation cycles.
The challenge with this method rests in the fact that in captivity, certain females need to mate with particular males to maintain genetic diversity among the big cats. There is vocal competition for mates so often arranged pairing are not agreed to with the “chosen” pair and the fact that this stutter-bark is only of the dominate male which would not be attractive to all females.
Sounds like the love doctor still has more work to do in this area of match making.
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Excerpts and Image of cheetah cub courtesy of NationalGeographic.com
Audio “Aphrodisiac” Spurs Rare Cheetah Birth–A First – Matt Kaplan
National Geographic News March 24, 2009