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On March 18, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ohio released the first pictures and video of its newest residents - Five adorable cheetah cubs. The cute newborns that include three males, and two females had to be born via a rare C-section surgery on March 8, due to some medical complications with their mother, five-year-old resident cheetah, Willow.
To give the mother a chance to recuperate from the delicate surgery, zoo medics are hand-rearing the premature cubs inside a special nursery. This is a difficult task given that the kittens have no active immunity. That's because cheetahs receive all their immunity in a passive manner through their mother's milk, which is currently unavailable. Hence, exposure to any germs can lead to a fatal infection. According to the zoo officials, while the young cheetahs have survived the crucial first week, it will take a full month for them to be completely out of danger.
With just 9,000 to 12,000 cheetahs left in the wild, the majestic cats are high on the endangered species list. To try to increase their numbers, the US-based Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP) has partnered with zoos across the country to create a cheetah breeding program. Not surprisingly, the Cincinnati Zoo is the leader. Its successful breeding program has resulted in 73 cheetah cubs — And those numbers do not include the five newborns! We sure hope all of them make it through the first 30 days.
Resources: Cincinattizoo.org, abcnew.go.com