Baby cheetahs born on Abu Dhabi island
Four baby cheetahs have been born on Sir Bani Yas Island
Four baby cheetahs, which you can view pictures of here, have been born on Sir Bani Yas Island, which lies off the coast of Abu Dhabi, as part of a successful breeding programme, it was announced on Monday.
As the cheetah is classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as extinct in the UAE, and vulnerable worldwide, the births, are of particular significance to the continuation of the species globally and locally, officials said.
Following the birth of the first ever hyena cubs in the wild in the UAE, this is yet another success for Sir Bani Yas Island, part of Abu Dhabi's Desert Islands destination, in protecting and re-introducing previously extinct animals.
The cheetahs on Sir Bani Yas Island are from captive bred populations. The mother and father of the cubs, Safira and Gabriel were raised in Sheikh Butti Al Maktoum’s Wildlife Centre, and the Sharjah Breeding Centre for Endangered Arabian Wildlife, respectively.
The cheetahs were brought to the island as part of TDIC’s conservation efforts which include breeding, re-wilding, releasing into the Arabian Wildlife Park to become an integral part of the natural population control for hoofed species on the island.
“As wildlife and nature conservation are part of our mandate, TDIC takes the responsibility of preserving the environment of the Western Region very seriously, and this is one of Sir Bani Yas Island’s main objectives,” said Lee Tabler, CEO of TDIC.
“Through this and similar programmes we hope to continue to support Abu Dhabi in its quest to become an international tourism hub, while maintaining respect for the local heritage and environment.”
Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, added: "We regard these cheetah births as a landmark accomplishment for Abu Dhabi especially as this announcement comes soon after the births of the previously extinct striped hyenas on Sir Bani Yas Island.”
Survival rates for cheetah cubs are very low both in the wild and captivity, and according to the conservation team, Safira, the cubs’ mother, is doing an impressive job of taking care of her cubs.
She has not yet moved the cubs from their original birth place in a small cave in the mountains. Safira is fitted with a radio collar and can be tracked and monitored by the conservation team on the island.
The flagship animal on Sir Bani Yas Island is the Arabian Oryx that was introduced in 1971 and was declared extinct in the wild by 1972.
Now, there are around 400 Arabian Oryx on Sir Bani Yas Island.