Cheetah quintuplets to make debut

The five baby big cats have already been a media sensation

Prague Zoo will finally be letting the five adorable baby cheetahs meet the public on Saturday, Aug. 26. The quintuplets — three males and two females — were born May 15 but so far have been kept behind the scenes as they were too small for outdoor adventures. Their photos, though, have been a worldwide sensation, being published as far away as India and the United States. The zoo on Sunday, Aug 27, will have events to bid and end to the summer vacation.

Several local celebrities will take part in the symbolic baptism of the cheetahs at 1 pm on Saturday. The honorary godfathers are Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek, Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolinek and two-time world champion sprinter Pavel Maslák. Cheetahs are known for being fast, which explains the participation of the runner.

An hour later, at 2 pm, there will be a narrated feeding of beasts with emphasis on cheetahs.

The mother, Savannah, is 6 years old and comes from Colchester Zoo in the UK. It is her second litter. The father is Ben, a 5-year-old male from Ebeltoft Safari in Denmark. “Four cubs are pretty robust and one is smaller, but we believe that in the coming days or weeks, it will catch up,” Pavel Brandl, curator of mammals, said on the zoo's website a month after the cubs were born.

These are the first new cheetahs at Prague Zoo in two and half years. The zoo has been keeping cheetahs since 1933 and the first offspring came in 1972. Since then, 64 have been born in the Prague Zoo and including the new litter.

Also on Saturday, there people will have an opportunity to participate in ecology by turning in old or nonfunctional cell phones or tablets, which will be recycled for the precious metals inside. The money raised will go to support lowland gorillas. Items can be dropped off at the picnic meadow near the southern entrance of the zoo. Creative workshops and games will be prepared for those interested, and there will be a bouncy castle.

Sunday will also be fun. There will be a program at 10:20 am and 1:20 pm explaining how animals are trained and kids can play thematic games in the amphitheater near the Bororo Reserve. At 11:30 am and 2:30 pm there will be special performances by animals.

The zoo this year welcomed its 60 millionth visitor since it opened 86 years ago. It has already had 1 million visitors this year alone, reaching that number Aug. 19. The millionth visitor ironically was named Mr Rybka, which means little fish. Last year the zoo had 1,448,353 visitors in total.

Prague Zoo was ranked the fourth-best in the world by users of the travel site TripAdvisor in July 2015.

Aside from cheetahs, the zoo this year has seen the births of a litter of wolves, a rare white-bearded tamarin and several Komodo dragons. Last year saw the birth of two baby elephants, who are still huge attractions. The zoo in 2016 saw a total of 1,191 juveniles in 223 species.

Prague Zoo currently covers 58 hectares with 50 hectares used for exhibits. It has over 4,700 animals from 681 species, including 144 species listed as threatened. The zoo has 12 pavilions and over 150 exhibits. It has been particularly active in the preservation of the Przewalski's horses, which are slowly being returned to the wild.

The zoo as of May 31 is entirely non-smoking. New parking lots with a free shuttle bus opened on July 1 at Povltavská Street by the Blanka tunnel.

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