The birth of the cheetah cubs to mother Alima on July 24th is considered a rare event, as female cheetahs are loners and getting them to breed is “one of the most difficult tasks at the zoo”, said the zoo in a statement.
“As cheetah breeding is an extremely difficult exercise, the birth can be seen as a success,” it said.
The births come as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), of which Basel Zoo is a participant.
Cheetahs are classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), based in the Swiss town of Gland.
In 2008 the IUCN estimated there to be around 7,500 cheetahs in Africa and fears this number may have dropped to 5,000 today.
While conservation programmes in the wild are proving successful, cheetah breeding in captivity remains “a rare event”, said the zoo.
Of the 85 institutions affiliated to the EEP births have occurred in only ten zoos.
Basel’s cheetah cubs remained in their lair until the age of six weeks when they began playing in the Etosha House enclosure.
“They often play until they keel over with tiredness and then return to their lair for a refreshing sleep,” said the zoo.