Captive breeding of cheetahs in North American Zoos: 1987–1991

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Laurie Marker-Kraus, Jack Grisham
Zoo Biology
A Wiley Company, Inc., Wiley Subscription Services
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Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430120104.abs From 1987 to 1991, the North American captive cheetah population increased by 38% (to 266 animals), due to importation and captive breeding. This population constitutes 26% of the world’s captive cheetahs and 36% of all reproductively successful animals. Since 1956, 33% of all cubs born in North America occurred during this 5-year period. Because of importation of animals from breeding programs abroad, East African (A. jubatus raineyi) genes have been introduced into the North American cheetah population, and 39% of all cubs born during 1987–1991 were South African/East African hybrids. Also during this time, the breeding population and effective breeding population increased by 86% and 72.6%, respectively. The incidence of infant mortality decreased from 37% (last recorded for the years 1956 to 1986) to 28% (averaged over 5 years), although infant mortality during the latter period ranged from 15% (for unrelated parents) to 41% (for related parents). Management recommendations implemented to increase fecundity and population size appear to be successful, although the founder base of the population still has only been increased from 52 cheetahs in 1986 to 72 animals in 1991. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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