History of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in zoos 1829-1994

  • November 8, 1996
  • by Marker L. L.

Since 1829 the African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has been exhibited in over 373 zoological facilities. As at 31 December 1994 the international captive population was 1218 animals of which 880 (72%) were captive-bred and 338 (28%) were wild-caught. The steady increase in the captive population is a result of captive breeding, co-operative captive-management programmes and importation from the wild. Of facilities holding cheetah 26%. (96) have bred the species, 15% of which have bred continuously producing 63%> (n= 1580) of all cubs born in captivity. Although the number of facilities breeding cheetah has increased, in 1994 only 10%) of them reported successful reproduction. The Ne has increased gradually and in 1994 was equivalent to 17% of the captive population. Of 1564 animals that have been imported, c. 20% (n= 308) have reproduced and in 1994 155 have living descendants in the captive population. Except for a few East African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) all of the imported animals are the southern African subspecies Acinonyx jubatus jubatus. There has been an increase in the number of subspecific hybrids in the captive population and between 1990 and 1994 28 hybrids produced 24%, (190) of cubs. The captive population is not yet self-sustaining and is maintained by the importation of wild-caught animals. Continued progress can be achieved by implication of a co-ordinated global management programme.

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