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High speed Ambassadors Raced into Wellington Zoo

3 March 2005

High speed Ambassadors Raced into Wellington Zoo

Two Cheetah cubs are set to hit the ground running when they arrive at Wellington Zoo on Friday 4th March.

Born at De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre and hand reared at Cheetah Outreach in Capetown, South Africa, the cubs - Delta and Charlie – are the latest additions to the Wellington Zoo range of Close Encounter programmes that have been operating since last year.

Animal Conditioner and Trainer, Gerry Whitehouse-Tedd says “The cubs will be about 10 months old by the time people have a chance to interact with them in April, but Zoo visitors will still be able to view the Cheetah cubs during their 30 day isolation period”.

The cubs began their intrepid journey from South Africa earlier this week thanks to sponsorship from Singapore Airlines who flew Gerry to South Africa and back home to New Zealand .

Gerry says “Singapore Airlines have provided an excellent service. Their involvement in transporting the Cheetah cubs means that they’re not only assisting in conservation but also in the community by helping Wellington Zoo”.

“We are extremely grateful to Singapore Airlines and their ground crew for the effort they have gone to, to assist me with the cubs during our lay over at Singapore Changi Airport”.

Cheetahs are particularly well suited for contact programmes. Trained adult cheetahs will look for and except human contact much better then the rest of the Big Cat family.

“Their temperament is more relaxed than other members of the cat family” comments Gerry.

“Cheetahs naturally avoid confrontation and will not pursue animals that pose a threat to them such as Hyenas”.

While the Cheetah is considered to be ‘nature’s supreme athlete’, it is a solitary and timid animal and if injured in catching prey, it will starve to death.

Reflecting the Zoo’s vision to bring animals and people closer together, the Close Encounters programme was developed to provide visitors with the opportunity to book an interactive experience with a range of Zoo animals.

“The current Encounters and the Cheetahs are only the beginning of things to come. Visitors should watch this space and expect to see some further developments in this area in the near future” comments Gerry.
Asante and Etosha, the Zoo’s two other Cheetah brothers still remain at the Zoo, but will not be available for Close Encounters.


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