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King Cheetah census

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Arizona Docent, 18 Nov 2012.

  1. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    King cheetahs are my favorite animal, but sadly few and far between. Here the current list of facilities I am aware of with them. If there are any others, please add them.

    Australia
    Taronga Western Plains Zoo

    Japan
    Tama Zoo

    South Africa
    DeWildt Cheetah Centre

    United States
    LEO Conservation Center
    Zoo Miami
     
  2. gerenuk

    gerenuk Well-Known Member

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    There are a ton out in the Middle East.
     
  3. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  4. elefante

    elefante Well-Known Member

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    Are these considered to have no conservation value? Is that why you don't see them in zoos? I've heard the same written about black leopards and jaguars. I don't know how common king cheetahs are in the wild, but considering that melanistic jaguars and leopards are not an extremely rare color form, I don't see how they don't have conservation value. I can see the argument about white tigers since those are almost always severely inbred and maybe the same could be said about white lions. That being said, I do enjoy seeing these other color forms in zoos.
     
  5. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation had one as of 2004, but I'm not sure if it is still alive. I've had a couple of zoo acquaintances visit zoos in the Middle East in the past couple of years and I'm fairly certain that in both public and private hands there are at least a handful of king cheetahs in captivity in that region of the world.
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Not very common, only one sighted every several years in the wild. The article I linked earlier describes how the breeding program (based on DeWildt's model I think) is careful not to do too much inbreeding as was done with white tigers. If done properly they do have value in zoos, as do white lions and tigers. By properly I mean outbreeding with regular colored animals and only allowing the special morph to occur in a portion of the offspring.

    As for black leopards and jaguars, they are more common in nature and I have never really heard anyone say they have no conservatin value. The main reason black leopards are uncommon in AZA zoos (but not in the private sector) is that the AZA is focusing solely on the amur race, which does not have a black morph. (I know you Brits think you have one, let us not start that debate here). As for black jaguars, I think it was just a matter of availability. All of the imports over the last decade (into the USA) have been of the typical yellow variety. However, this year there were two black jaguar cubs born for the first time in several years in this country - one at public cat center in California (not AZA) and one at a zoo in Arizona (not AZA, but ZAA).
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2012
  7. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that White Bengal Tigers were living freely in India. The ones in the U.S. are mostly (probably all) inbreed so they do not have a conservation purpose. I don't know about White Transvaal Lions, though.
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    They only crop up very rarely though, mostly in Central India where the gene seems to be present. The last one captured, in 1951, was the ancestor of (nearly) all White Tigers in Zoos although a pair of normals in an American circus produced white cubs also. I am not sure any wild one has been sighted since then. (Indian zoos are full of them of course and I have heard talk of 'reintroductions' to the wild though I cannot see any value in that)
     
  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Until the 1980's at least, it was regarded as an almost mythical animal with only one, or no specimens in captivity and next to nothing know about it or how it occurred. That seems to have changed rather.

    There is/was some theory among scientists that this 'sport' of the normal Cheetah is in the process of evolving for life in a more forested habitat- the stripes replacing the spots in the process. Make what you will of that though.
     
  10. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    For my fellow king cheetah lovers, there is a good book called King Cheetah: The Story of the Quest by Lena Godsall Bottriell (1987 EJ Brill publishers). The author and her husband began a search for the elusive king cheetah before there were any in captivity. Towards the end of their quest (and included in the book), the first captive kings were born at DeWildt. The book is long since out of print, but you can likely find a used copy online.
     
  11. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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  12. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Australia:
    *Taronga Western Plains Zoo (NSW): two siblings, male (Kyan) and female (Halla), born at TWPZ in October 2009.

    Japan:
    *Tama Zoo: one female (Nadeshiko) born in 2011, one male (Ibuki) born in 2012, and two more (male and female) born in 2013. All four were born at Tama Zoo, I think to two different mothers (?).

    South Africa:
    *Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (formerly called De Wildt Cheetah Centre): does anyone know how many are here? I haven't been able to find anything apart for a recent reference saying there are thirty king cheetahs total (in the world), which would probably put De Wildt on around fifteen or twenty or so.

    UAE:
    *Al Bustan Zooogical Centre: they must have several. An article from last year said they have bred six there so far.
    *Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre: one female, from Al Bustan: Rare cheetah to breed at Abu Dhabi Wild Life Centre | GulfNews.com

    USA:
    *LEO Conservation Centre (Connecticut): no specific info that I can find but there is one there, a female called Mona Lisa (but the collection is private).


    Some former king cheetahs in zoos:
    It is surprisingly difficult finding any information about captive king cheetahs on the internet! You'd think that being unusual they would attract more data, not less.

    Australia:
    *National Zoo and Aquarium (Canberra): a male (Jama), originally from De Wildt, died 2008.

    Singapore:
    *Singapore Zoo: one from mid-1990s to mid-2000s (I can't find a name or specific dates, but it came originally from De Wildt and died in Singapore). I found a photo on Flickr from October 2006 and in a Zoochat thread Baldur said he was there in January 2008 and didn't see it, so I would suggest it died during 2007.

    Europe:
    *Wuppertal Zoo (Germany): a female (Helen), born at Nuremberg Zoo in 2000, died 2010.

    USA:
    *Cincinnati Zoo (Ohio): the first one exported from De Wildt came here, in 1989.
    *San Diego Zoo (California): from De Wildt in 1991 (apparently king cheetahs plural). At least one (female Matotsi) later at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
    *Caldwell Zoo (Texas): from De Wildt in early 90s.
    *St Louis Zoo (Missouri): from De Wildt in early 90s.
    *Wild Cat Education and Conservation Fund [formerly Leopards Etc] (California): a male (Kgosi), born in 1999 (presumably at De Wildt), died 2012.
    *Zoo Miami (Florida): a male (King George), born at De Wildt in 1998 and imported to Zoo Miami in 1999, died 2014.
     
    Last edited: 13 Sep 2014
  13. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I do know LEO's is a breeding female.

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  14. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes, but breeding cheetahs is a very tricky business. I hope they can, but it is nowhere near a certainty.
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    assuming the mutation can be passed on by males, if you were wanting to breed them you'd be better off getting a male king cheetah and pairing it to spotted females - the more cubs produced the more chance of getting kings.
     
  16. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    That depends on how it inherits. I asume, due to its rarity, it inherits autosomal recessive, so you need a slit female to get King cheetahs or you will need to breed the young against each other, which would indeed make the option of a male to start with the best as you could pair young from different mothers to each other.

    If the mutation inherits sex-linked though a pairing of a King female x normal male could give you already King Cheetah males.
     
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  17. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    For the record, there are some ways to visit if someone really wanted to, though the easiest and most common way is a $2,500 "donation". They also sometimes offer contests and such where people can win visits and I believe donors are allowed to visit depending on various factors (probably like how much you donate for example).

    ~Thylo:cool:
     
  18. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The king female at LEO gave birth recently to a litter of eight (yes, eight) cubs. To the best of my knowledge all of the cubs show a normal spotting pattern.
     
  19. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    King cheetahs look pretty cool, though I've never seen one. Didn't the AZA ban its members from intentionally breeding for them, along with white tigers and certain other color mutations?
     
  20. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I think so, but am not positive. The irony (hypocrisy) is that AZA zoos all have albino or leucistic reptiles and seem to have no problem with that, but if a zoo has a white tiger they are looked down upon.