Quarantine is now complete and our healthy cheetah sisters have moved into their new home. With extensive views of the Pridelands area, a new purpose-built shelter, and new viewing platform, the girls are quickly settling into the neighbourhood.

Quarantine is an important process to keep both New Zealand and our other beloved Auckland Zoo animals safe from both foreign and native illnesses. To ensure a smooth and stress-free transitional period for the cheetah sisters, Carnivores Keeper Emma Pearce spent time with the girls at their home in South Africa, getting to know their unique personalities and beginning their training. 

In South Africa, Quartz was well bonded with her trainer and I had to work very hard to win her over, whereas Qia was quick to accept me

Carnivores Keeper Emma Pearce

As Emma got to know Quartz she realised that being picky with people was simply part of her confident nature, as was being a little cheeky, mischievous and getting enjoyment out of pushing boundaries. Since arriving at Auckland Zoo, Quartz has quickly become Emma’s “little buddy” and the two have a very tight relationship.

Qia’s easy going nature has made her a fast friend to all the carnivore keepers at Auckland Zoo, but she takes a little longer to settle into new environments. Just like any of us when moving into a new neighbourhood, Qia gave some of her new neighbours a few questionable looks, and still holsters a few suspicions about them. 

A cheetah’s natural instinct is to run away when anxious, so building trust with their keepers and new environment is an important part of their training. The girls have now been in their new enclosure for two weeks and have recently ventured outside their enclosure for the first time. It takes time to build up their confidence in new areas, so they are yet to venture far from home and are so far just taking in the sights of their new baboon neighbours. They will eventually be taken for walks around the entire zoo.

Our special girls are part of Cango’s conservation programme and are lucky enough to play an important ambassador role for their wild cousins, to grow support and encourage fundraising for the endangered cat and expand its genetic pool. You can help us with the work we do caring for these endangered animals by visiting Quartz and Qia at their new home in the Africa section, or by donating to the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund. Try and tell the sisters apart, Qia has a large white tip at the end of her tail and Quartz has a larger right eye.