The adorable newborns, born to 8-year-old cheetah Echo, arrived on Sept. 12
The Smithsonian's National Zoo has some new arrivals!
The zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, has welcomed a litter of five cheetah cubs, born to 8-year-old cheetah mom Echo, as stated in a press release.
“The cubs appear to be strong, active, vocal and eating well,” the zoo announced in the release.
NZCBI announced that the five cubs were born on Sept. 12. A sixth cub was also born but unfortunately did not survive.
The sexes of the cubs were confirmed to be two females and three males by the zoo staff.
According to the release, second-time mom Echo was discovered to be pregnant with the litter on July 28. The cheetah mom, who was born at White Oak Conservation in Florida in 2015, previously gave birth to four cubs in 2020.
Echo and her five cubs can currently be viewed live on the Cheetah Cub Cam in their den as they continue to spend precious bonding time together.
“Animal care staff will leave Echo to bond with and care for her cubs without interference, but as opportunities arise, staff will perform quick health checks,” the press release continued.
The release added that there are “two potential sires” among the cubs and genetic testing will be performed on the pair to determine the sire “when the cubs are old enough to have blood collected.”
NZCBI said of the cubs that they are a “significant addition to the Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP)”, which “determine[s] which animals to breed by considering their genetic makeup, health, and temperament, among other factors," according to the statement.
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The Virginia campus provides one of 10 spaces across the country creating sustainable habitats for the breeding of the North American cheetah population.
There are estimated to be only 7,000 to 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild in sub-Saharan Africa, where they are natively found, as a result of poaching, and changes in their natural habitat.
The NZCBI has celebrated 81 cheetah births and currently provides homes for 30 cheetahs.
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