All Hail The King! What King? Well the King Cheetah that’s at Zoo Negara. Our national zoo recently confirmed that one of their cheetahs was indeed a King Cheetah. The King Cheetah is one of the rarest in the world. In fact, it is estimated that there are only about thirty King Cheetahs in the world.
So how did this happen? Back in February last year, our zoo received Tianna from a conservation centre in South Africa. It was part of an animal transfer programme. However, everyone was unaware that she was pregnant.
In July she gave birth to a litter of four but only one managed to survive. Zoo Negara decided to name him Bolt, after Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt. At first everyone thought that Bolt was just your ordinary South African Cheetah.
But not for long. As he grew up he started to develop an interesting and unique pattern in his fur. Instead of having the usual spots he was growing large blotchy spots as well as wide black stripes. The stripes run from his neck all the way to his tail.
This had the zookeepers scratching their heads for a while but now they have confirmed why he has strange markings. He shows the fur pattern of a King Cheetah! Totally unexpected.
Why is the King Cheetah so rare? Well the markings are cause by a gene mutation but it actually a recessive gene. Because it is recessive, there are less King Cheetahs than normal ones.
Sources claim that the King Cheetah has been seen only a total of six times in the wild. Back in 2016 it was estimated that there are only 30 King Cheetahs in the world. So we are pretty lucky to have one in our own zoo!
Back in June this year, Tianna had another litter of cubs with only two surviving. Now, our zookeepers are eagerly waiting to see if they will also develop the same fur patterns as Bolt.