On 4th April 2023, we welcomed the arrival of a female Cheetah from Vienna Zoo in Austria.

After a long journey from Austria, Anika arrived at Colchester Zoo in the evening on Tuesday 4th April as part of a breeding recommendation. Anika was slightly nervous when she first arrived but by the next day she had relaxed and immediately began exploring her new home. Our new female actually arrived without a name, so as our Animal Care Team learned more about her personality, they decided to name her Anika. Anika means ‘sweet-faced’ in Afrikaans which is fitting for her beautiful appearance and friendly nature.

Cheetahs are very solitary animals out in the wild so a female would usually be on her own until she comes into season and wants to mate. Therefore, Anika is currently off-show to the public to give her some time to settle into her new home and to become more comfortable with our Animal Care Team. Over the last few weeks, our Animal Care Team have been doing some tong feeding and training with Anika to help build a relationship.

This is our first animal import since the UK left the EU in 2020. Animal transfers between the UK and Europe have been a challenging process due to the extra certification and health checks required. This Cheetah transfer has been 11 months in the making but we are delighted to report that she arrived safely and is settling in well.

The captive Cheetah population in Europe is managed as a European Ex Situ Programme, also known as an EEP and the Cheetah transfer was a result of a recommendation made by the EEP coordinator. The European Ex Situ Programme is vital for the conservation of this species in captivity. The EEP is run by a single coordinator who then made our recommendation by close monitoring of the captive population and the population genetics.

We hope to gradually introduce Anika to our two male Cheetahs, Abasi and Azizi, very soon so be sure to follow us on social media and keep up to date with her progress!

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