For Release: May 12, 2005
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083
Peper Long (202) 633-3082
It's Three Girls and Two Boys!
National Zoo Releases Photos of Cheetah Cubs
This morning, National Zoo veterinarians and animal-care staff got their first look at the newest litter of cheetahs. The three females and two males are the second litter of cheetah cubs born at the National Zoo during its 116-year history. Each of the new cubs weighs just over three pounds. During this first quick exam staff checked the cubs' gender, weight, and general health. Zoo vets say all the cubs are doing well.
The five cubs were born four weeks ago, on April 14. Zoo veterinarians will examine the cubs again in two weeks to give vaccinations and collect blood samples.
The National Zoo currently has 14 cheetahs—nine females and five males—including the Zoo's first litter of four cheetah cubs, born on Nov. 23, 2004.
The National Zoo has been involved in 25 years of research on cheetahs in the wild and in zoos. The Zoo participates in the cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. SSPs are cooperative breeding and conservation programs designed to maintain genetically viable populations of animals in captivity and to organize zoo and aquarium-based efforts to preserve the species in nature.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals—reaching speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour. Once found in parts of southern Asia, the Middle East and Africa, these cats now exist only in Africa, with a small population in Iran and Afghanistan. An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 cheetahs survive in the wild, where they typically live eight to 10 years.
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