Celebrating Solo and Zama’s first birthday
Celebrating the FIRST birthday of the PAWfect two best friends, Solo & Zama!
One year ago, the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra welcomed their latest addition into the world, a cheetah cub. The appropriately named Solo was a rare single-cub birth, as most cheetah litters range from 3 to 5 cubs.
As the mothers of single cubs generally have difficulty producing milk for just one cub, Solo has been lovingly hand raised by two specialist keepers, Kyle Macdonald and Aline IJsselmuiden. Both have many years’ experience raising cubs like Solo and have both spent the last year ensuring that he received all the love and attention that he would normally have received from his mother and siblings.
To make up for Solo’s lack of siblings, they acquired a similarly aged puppy for Solo to play with. Zama is a cross Border Collie/Belgian Malinois, specially selected so that her collie genes give her the energy and determination to try to keep up with the fastest land animal on earth, while retaining the companionship, loyalty and intelligence of the Malinois genes. Solo and Zama have rarely been separated and have grown to thrive on each other’s company.
Over the past year, Solo has become an ambassador for his species and through his popularity he continues to raise awareness for the plight of cheetahs in the wild. Cheetahs are categorised as vulnerable with under 8,000 estimated left globally and face significant threats to their ongoing survival.
Solo and Zama have become icons for the National Zoo & Aquarium and Jamala Wildlife Lodge with visitors and guests able to book a hands-on encounter with them or explore the undeveloped part of the zoo with the duo on their daily walk with keepers through the pine forest.
To celebrate the pair turning one, the zoo will be hosting a birthday party this Saturday starting at 12pm in the Viewing Park near Solo and Zama’s enclosure with presents and treats for the birthday boy and girl (and cake for visitors) as well as a stall with activities for the whole family to enjoy!