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19 October 2010, 12:38
Five cheetah cubs at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire are getting a carnivores’ treat with a twist this week, as keepers serve up their first proper “meaty” dinner in carved pumpkins.
Mother Dubai has been trying to tempt the cute fivesome with titbits from her own meals of chicken and raw meat but this will be the first time they all share a meal together.
Keepers came up with the idea, which is both healthy and a form of enrichment for the cubs, who will have to claw their way through the pumpkins to find their food.
The five cubs, born on 28th May are getting used to their surroundings and at 20 weeks old are becoming more adventurous but are still as adorable as the day they were born.
The cubs’ birth was a cause of great celebration at Whipsnade, which has a history of prolific breeding of these cats in the 1960s and 1970s and was the first zoo to successfully breed them.
The litter of five cubs – three males and two females – have been named Itjane, Sanne, Tlata, Rabaa and Khamssa, which translates as numbers one, two, three, four and five in the North African language of Berber, spoken in Algeria, one of the places where their critically endangered species have been seen in the wild.