Tiny cubs fight to survive

04:36, Apr 29 2013
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Staff are working around the clock to ensure the survival of the cats.
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Two cubs of the litter died after their first-time mother was unable to care for them.
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Orana Park's new cheetah cubs that were rescued from their mother.

The newest additions to Orana Wildlife Park's feline family are fighting for survival.

Three cheetah cubs born at the park on Saturday are clinging to life in incubators at Christchurch's After Hours Veterinary Hospital.

Two cubs of the litter died in the last 24 hours, after their first-time mother Mazza, 4, was unable to care for them alone.

Zoological manager Rob Hall said staff were working around the clock to ensure the survival of the cats.

''The three cubs have survived the critical 48 hour period and their chances of survival increases with each passing hour,'' he said.

''One cub is nursing reasonably well which is great news but the other two are not feeding well at this point.''

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An emergency autopsy was being conducted on the dead cubs to provide information that may help save the remaining three.

First-time cheetah mothers can often loose their litter due to inexperience. 

The decision was made to take the cubs from Mazza after she failed to care for the cubs.

Cheetah are a difficult species to breed in captivity, with only a handful of zoos worldwide having repeated breeding success.

If the cats survive, it would boost the cheetah population at Orana Wildlife Park to 16.

The Press