Orana cubs cheat ill health
A pre-Christmas miracle has given Orana Wildlife Park cheetah stocks a much-needed boost.
Two 7-week-old male cubs, nicknamed Boo and Lion, were among a litter of four born to mother Mazza.
Their two siblings died and there were fears Boo and Lion may also not survive. A litter of five born earlier in the year had all died.
The hand-reared pair pulled through and were now "bouncy little things" and were thriving, Orana Wildlife Park spokesman Nathan Hawke said.
Animal keeper Amanda Tiffin said Lion was given his name because there was a lion on the bottle he was fed with. He was living up to his name with his "bold" personality, she said.
Boo's name was short for boo-boo "because he was the sicker of the two" at the start, animal keeper Sam Jeune said.
"It's really lucky both of them are here . . . it was a bit touch and go to start," Hawke said.
"Both had lung infections and were in intensive care at the vet for quite a period of time before they came here. We're very lucky they managed to survive."
The cubs brought the total number of cheetahs at the park to 15, the others being nine adult males and four females.
However, Boo and Lion will be transferred to Wellington Zoo next year, Hawke said.
The cubs will be on display at Orana Wildlife Park from Boxing Day onwards.