By Binsal Abdul Kader
Abu Dhabi: Shamwari, a six-year-old King cheetah, has not yet found a mate after she rejected a male cheetah who was introduced to her.
She was brought to the centre for a breeding programme and is one of only 30 King cheetahs alive today.
The animal has come under threat due to poaching and habitat loss.
With cheetahs, the female decides whether she will mate with a male or not.
"Theirs is a female dominant world. Male lions impose themselves on females but this is not possible for cheetahs,” Rone’l Barcellos, the manager of the Abu Dhabi Wild Life Centre, said.
The centre will try to introduce other male cheetahs to her gradually.
The King cheetah is not a separate species of the animal but are cheetahs with a recessive gene that gives them unique spots, Barcellos said.
The King cheetah was first discovered in the late 1920’s and identified as a species, she said. But later in the 1980’s it was proved that they were not a separate species but a genetic variant due to certain recessive genes.
Shamwari was donated to the centre by the Al Bustan Farm, a private zoo in Ajman, for the breeding programme. The Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre collaborates with such centres to breed threatened wild cats to conserve them.
The female cheetah apparently has a playful side as she often bites the fence of her enclosure. “She is little bit naughty,” Barcellos said.
Other big cats such as lions and tigers cannot do so because their fences are electrified for their safety.
“When they touch the fence, they will feel it, although it does not harm them,” she said.