Busch Gardens Tampa has welcomed two new adorable additions – three-month-old cheetah cubs. The Busch Gardens animal care team is providing 24-hour-care as the cubs continue to get stronger and explore their new home.
The cubs were born on Nov. 22, 2014 and weigh approximately 12 pounds. Their names, which were given by the Busch Gardens animal care team, are Tendai, meaning “thankful,” and Thabo, meaning “joy.”
Once the cubs are old enough, they will start their own coalition as part of Cheetah Run, the innovative cheetah habitat that opened alongside Busch Gardens’ triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt, in 2011. Until then, guests can see the cubs at various times throughout the day in the Edge of Africa area of the park, or by taking an Animal Care Center Behind The Scenes tour through Sunday, March 1.
Cheetahs are included on both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species as well as on the US Endangered Species Act list of threatened species. Upon reaching maturity, the cubs may also become an important part of Busch Gardens’ cheetah breeding program that will help boost the cheetah population.
These births are part of Busch Gardens’ participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. Busch Gardens’ participation helps create genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations to guarantee the long-term future of these animals.