On April 5th, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo announced the happy news that ten teeny-tiny cheetah cubs were born to two different mothers in their care. The cheetah is considered Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List and part of the zoo’s Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), so these births are especially important because not only have they doubled the zoo’s Cheetah population, but also promise a good global start as well.
The start of spring brought a cheetah cub boom to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., where two large litters were born over the course of a single week. Three-year-old Happy gave birth to five healthy cubs March 23. Seven-year-old Miti gave birth to seven cubs March 28—two were visibly smaller and less active at the time of birth and died, which is common in litters this large. Both mothers are reportedly doing well and proving to be attentive to the 10 surviving healthy cubs, which have all been successfully nursing. Each litter includes two male and three female cubs.