Was This Baby Cheetah Rejected by Mother?


The video and the story state that a 6 week old cheetah was rejected by its mother in the wild. The cub was given a new home at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The cub has been placed with a 7 week old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy for companionship and to learn socialisation.

The whole story is based upon the fact that this baby cheetah's mother rejected him or her. I wanted to know why the mother of a baby cheetah rejects him. Does it happen in the wild as stated?

Perhaps the first question is which country does this cheetah come from? The country where they are most populous is Botswana in the South West of the African continent. Perhaps that was his home. He is now a long way from his home. We don't know anything about the story of how he came to be transported to San Diego, USA.

The premier book on the wildcat species is “Wild Cats of the World". Having read quite carefully the section about the reproduction and development of the cheetah, I can't find any references to mother cheetahs abandoning their young. The general tenor of this section of the book indicates to me that cheetah mothers are extremely diligent and demonstrate a lot of commitment and care in raising their young.

We don't know what happened. Perhaps the cheetah mother simply lost her cub in the wild. Or, if one is more cynical, you could argue that this cute little cheetah was stolen by somebody in the wild. Big Cat Rescue states that cheetah mothers may abandon their young if it is too hard to feed then due to scarcity of prey. Perhaps the cheetah never lived in the wild?

In the video, you will note that the baby cheetah has an interesting pelage. The coat is silver-grey. Quite a different colour to the adult cheetah. There is a long mantle of silver-grey fur which covers the crown of the head, the nape of the neck and the back. We fur on the flanks and undersides is dark. The mantle is unique to young cheetahs and no other young felid has such long dorsal hair. As he grows up the mantle is lost. Cheetahs retain the remnants of the mantle as a mane or crest through adolescence.

Author: Michael (see horizontal menu for my details). Source of cheetah information: Wild Cats Of The World by the Sunquists.

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