Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: September 27, 2021 2:10 pm
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Animal care staff at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) are being kept busy as they hand-raise a male cheetah cub.
Unfortunately the cub was the only survivor in its litter of three born on September 16th 2021 to mother Sukuri. Unfortunately one cub was stillborn and the other passed a few minutes after birth.
Keepers are pleased to report that the remaining cub is strong, active, vocal and eating well.
Soon after birth Sukuri had provided initial warmth and colostrum to the cub but by the next morning she began to ignore it. Keepers were able to remove the cub later that day with no agitation from mom.
“We are always prepared to intervene when necessary,” said Adrienne Crosier, cheetah reproductive biologist at SCBI and head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP). “We know from cheetahs in human care there is not enough stimulation to keep milk production going for a singleton. In the wild, a female cheetah would abandon a lone cub. If this cub was to survive, we had to step in.”
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Keepers are remaining at the SCBI's veterinary hospital around the clock to care for the cubs. The cub is fed a formula used to rear cubs successfully at the zoo. Staff at the SCBI will care for the cub until a litter of cheetah are born at another zoo at which point it is hoped this cub can be integrated in to this litter.
“While we can care for this cub in the short term, it’s important he learns how to be a cheetah from other cheetahs close to his age and have the attention of an adult female cheetah soon,” Crosier said. “We hope to have more cheetah cubs born at SCBI in the near future, but the timing is not ideal for the cub to stay here.”
SCBI are part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition. This is a group of 10 cheetah breeding centers which are working together to create a sustainable population of cheetah in human care. The center has successfully raised 15 litters of cheetah cubs since 2007.
The father of this cub is 5 year old Scott. The pair were placed together by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this species.
Keepers were able to monitor Sukuri during her pregnancy and noticed no complications during the pregnancy.
Video Credit: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute