Rescued Cheetah Cubs Raised at Emirates Park Zoo and Resort
October 14, 2016
Jasper the cheetah cub, wows audience with his art skills and friendly personality
Emirates Park Zoo and Resort rescued Jasper and Shazly, two cheetah cubs from the Saudi Arabian border. Officials confiscated 15 cubs who were being smuggled into the country, with the intent of selling as pets. All 15 are suspected of being taken from the wild.
Originally, Emirates Park Zoo and Resort brought four cubs and treated them for malnourishment and feline leukemia. Within the first two days, two cubs died from advanced disease. As a result of efficient caregiving, Jasper and Shazly not only fully recovered, but also socialized completely into the zoo environment.
Jessica Spohr, Emirates Park Zoo Head Zookeeper who was the cubs’ primary care-giver commented, “Jasper took a liking to all the keepers and has a very friendly personality. Once he was six months old, we started training him for husbandry behaviors such as sit, down, target, station, etc. that allowed us to use him not only as an ambassador animal, but to help in medical procedures and any other husbandry we needed to give him”.
The diligent staff at Emirates Park Zoo and Resort has trained Jasper to learn how to paint using non-toxic children’s finger paint and canvas. Using the trained behaviors and positive reinforcement, Jasper has the ability to make art that is available for viewing for the general public, as well as for sale. 100% of the profits will go to conservation both within Emirates Park Zoo and with organizations like WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund).
With the promotion of Jasper’s art, the management hopes to help cheetahs in the wild and teach people about the horrors of wildlife trafficking. Jasper and Shazly were some of the lucky ones, but 4 out of 5 cubs smuggled for the pet trade don’t survive the journey. A population of 100,000 cheetahs has dwindled to 7000 because of many issues (this being one of them), and something has to be done. Guests can view Jasper and Shazly, as well as the artwork, at Emirates Park Zoo and Resort, open from 9 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 9am to 9pm on weekends.