16 August 2023

Endangered cheetahs arrive at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

16 August 2023

Two endangered cheetahs considered “vulnerable” by conservationists have arrived at a wildlife park in South Yorkshire.

The two wildcats – four-year-old female Darcy and 13-year-old male Brooke – have moved into a newly-developed 10,000 square metre cheetah territory at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.

The area will be open to visitors from August 18.

Darcy was transported from Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland while Brooke was brought from the Bristol Zoo Project conservation park.

Cheetahs being threatened by habitat loss, poaching and pollution are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with only 7,100 estimated to exist in the wild.

Dr Charlotte Macdonald, director of animals at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, said the new territory includes “three new reserves and two houses”, making it potentially the largest “breeding complex” in Europe.

“The landscape is enriched with lots of trees, rocks, sandy areas to relax, caves and lookout points which are expected to be popular with the new arrivals,” she said.

“We hope that Darcy and Brooke will appreciate the space in cheetah territory.

She said that the cheetahs are being housed separately from each other.

Dr Macdonald said: “In the wild, female cheetahs are solitary and this only changes when caring for their cubs whilst males are more social and will live in all-male groups called coalitions.

“Cheetah territory reflects this by housing Brooke and Darcy separately, as they would in the wild.

“The reserve has separate male and female savannah grassland inspired areas where they can run and roam, and ‘homes’ where they can withdraw to rest and sleep.”

The park is already home to endangered Amur leopards, tigers and rescued African lions.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park CEO John Minion said: “Visitors to the park will have the opportunity to observe these incredible cats up close while also learning about the challenges they face in the wild and how they can actively contribute to their conservation.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox