Zoos SA
Zoos SA is a non-government conservation charity, every visit, adoption, donation and ticket helps to save species from extinction.

When a single Cheetah cub was born at Monarto Safari Park late in the night on Sunday 5 March, keepers were delighted but concerned.

The single cub

On 5 March, a single female cub was born to seven-year-old Quella.

But when particular big cat species like Cheetah give birth to one cub, called a singleton, they cannot produce enough milk to sustain their newborn.

Keepers and the dedicated veterinary team acted quickly, taking the newborn into 24-hour, round-the-clock human care, including feeds every two hours.

The tiny tot was kept safe and warm in her humidicrib with a few fluffy friends, including a heartbeat teddy and a Cheetah plush toy complete with teats to teach her how to suckle.

She was getting stronger each day, but to provide her the best welfare outcome the team knew she needed to be with other Cheetah…

A second birth

This is where this spotty ‘tail’ takes a twist. Quella wasn’t the only Cheetah expecting.

Her sister, Qailee, was due mere days later and on Sunday 12 March, she successfully delivered two tiny cubs. With two cubs in tow, Qailee could produce enough milk to nourish them, and was spotted grooming and feeding straight away.

After hand-rearing the first little cub for eight days, Zoos SA’s dedicated veterinary team had to make the call to try a technique that we believe has never been attempted in Australasia before – cross-fostering Quella’s cub into Qailee’s litter.

Being a member of WAZA, our dedicated staff are often exchanging knowledge with organisations across the world. Di Hakof, Veterinary Nurse and Hospital Manager at Zoos SA, got in contact with White Oak Conservation in the United States, who generously shared their experience of cross-fostering Cheetah.

Creating a family of three

It was early on 14 March, that Di crawled into Qailee’s den to place the single cub in with her new siblings.

“We didn’t want that cub smelling like us, so we rubbed some of the straw that was in the den on the singleton cub and we toileted the others and put some of their urine on the foster cub,” she said

“Then we left… and we waited. Within 24 hours, Qailee was feeding all three cubs and it was amazing.

“It was a huge moment for us as an organisation, as it will inform the way we will breed going forward; such as breeding in pairs or multiples to ensure there is options for cross-fostering or forming a coalition between males.

“You do get attached to the little ones when you are hand raising, but the sweetness of seeing the week pan out after we had done that was just worth every single moment.”

Qailee and her three cubs are now happily snuggling, feeding and spending time bonding as a family.

Want to support Quella, Qailee, and the three cubs?

Purchase or gift a Life Membership!

Receive a lifetime of free visits to Monarto Safari Park and Adelaide Zoo, plus a free transferable pass, so you can bring along one adult or two children completely free!

Purchase before 31 March 2023 and you’ll get $255 off!

Buy a Life Membership 


Lend a paw to buying Cheetah handling equipment

You can also lend a paw by donating to Zoos SA to help us buy a new animal handling facility for Cheetah. This will help vets and keeper continue to assess the health and welfare of these spotty felines.


Donate Now

I would like to donate to buy Cheetah birthing equipment

Please enter a donation amount.

What are we doing to support Cheetah in the wild?

Cheetah are vulnerable to extinction with an estimated 6,000 thought to survive across eastern and south-western Africa.

Impacted by habitat loss human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade, Zoos SA partners with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to protect the species in the wild including rescuing cubs from the illegal pet trade and training Livestock Guarding Dogs to protect stock from predators and in turn protect cheetah from conflict with local communities.


Other ways to safeguard a future for Cheetah

Adopt a Cheetah

Support Qailee, Quella and their cubs with an adoption! Not only will your adoption support this special species at Monarto Safari Park Zoo, you’ll also be helping tigers in the wild.

Adopt now

Visit Monarto Safari Park

Visit Qailee and Quella at their home!

Take the Zu-Loop bus, or the new Cheetah Walking Track to visit the Cheetah exhibit.

Book now

Unlimited cheetah visits

Celebrate the births with a year of Cheetah visits! Zoos SA members get:

  • 365 days of adventure at Adelaide Zoo and Monarto Safari Park
  • Discount at the cafes, Zoo and Safari Shops
  • First access to events

Join today

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction. Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging. We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with zoo news and sign up to our Zoo Times eNewsletter