Cheetah cub escapes Orana Park enclosure
A daring six-month-old cheetah cub has escaped from its enclosure at Orana Wildlife Park to roam freely in the public area.
Orana Wildlife Park's chief executive Lynn Anderson said the unprecedented rain in March and April had caused moat levels to rise forcing them to turn off the bottom electrics in the cheetah enclosure.
The adult cheetahs were moved to another enclosure, but the cubs stayed put as staff did not imagine they could swim across the moat and climb over the top electric fence.
Lion, one of the cubs, proved them wrong.
Visitors to the park said he had swum across the moat, climbed up a post and jumped into the public area.
Anderson believed the hand-reared cub was just being social, wanting to "talk" to people. He never posed a danger.
"There was absolutely no risk to human safety. These cheetah cubs have the personality of a house cat," she said.
A zoo keeper picked up the "bedraggled" cub to take him back to an enclosure. He was out of the enclosure for about 10 minutes.
LEFT HIS BROTHER BEHIND
Lion, who shares an enclosure with his brother Boo, will now be kept in a different enclosure until the electrics can be turned on again.
Angela Crocker, who was taking her children to the park, was on a tour when the cub made his escape.
She said it was a "bit of a surprise" to see a cheetah cub on the loose.
"[The cub] didn't seem dangerous in any way, but it was clearly terrified."
The incident has been reported to the Ministry for Primary Industries.
In 2010, three adult cheetahs escaped from their enclosure and roamed in the public area for half an hour in what Anderson described at the time as "the most serious incident we've ever had".
The cheetahs were able to be shepherded into their enclosure without incident, but all visitors were taken to safe places, and keepers were sent to catch the animals, along with a veterinarian with a tranquilliser gun.