Baby Cheetahs

by Rebecca on January 13, 2011

in Animal Stories

Many years of research are celebrated in the birth of two cheetah cubs at
the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute -the first Cheetahs born at the
Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park facility in Front Royal, Va. The cubs
were born to two separate females; the first to 5-year-old Amani Dec. 6, the
second to 9-year-old Zazi Dec. 16. Cheetahs that give birth to only one cub,
called a singleton, cannot produce enough milk to keep the cub alive.
Typically, females in the wild will let a single cub die, after which they
will breed again to theoretically produce a larger litter. So scientists at
SCBI resorted to an alternative technique. The cub born to Amani, a
first-time mother, was hand-raised for 13 days before being placed with
Zazi, creating a litter of two that will likely help stimulate milk
production from Zazi. Researchers have observed both cubs nursing from Zazi.

“When we realized that Amani had a singleton, we removed the cub to hand
rear it,” said Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist. “So when Zazi gave
birth, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to give both cubs a chance
at survival as one litter under her care without any additional interference
by us. Only a few institutions in North American have ever successfully
cross-fostered cheetah cubs.”

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