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Cheetah Cub Cam FAQs

Cheetah Rosalie gave birth to five cubs Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Tune in to the Cheetah Cub Cam streaming live from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, for all the action. Have a question about Rosalie and her cubs? Find the answer below.

Rosalie is a 6-year-old cheetah living at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. She was born at SCBI in 2015 and was raised by her mother. This is Rosalie’s first pregnancy, and keepers have high hopes for her as a cheetah mom.

Keepers gave Rosalie an ultrasound! As part of Rosalie’s enrichment and training, keepers worked with her to voluntarily participate in her veterinary care.

Often when an animal is about to give birth, keepers set up a camera to make sure they can monitor the health and well-being of the mother and her offspring. The webcam feed you’re watching is one that keepers monitor 24/7. It was set up long before Rosalie was pregnant and will remain in place for as long as keepers need to make sure she is doing well.

Nick, a 10-year-old male, is the father (sire) of Rosalie’s cubs. Nick was the first cub ever born at SCBI in December 2010. Rosalie and Nick are part of the Species Survival Plan, or SSP, for cheetahs. This means their offspring would bring much needed genetic diversity to the population of cheetahs in human care.

Cheetahs are usually pregnant for about 90 days, or three months. Based on Rosalie’s July 9 and 10 breeding, her birth window was placed between Oct. 6 and Oct. 15.

Interaction between a mother cheetah and her cubs helps them bond. Rosalie licks her cubs to clean and groom them. She has to do this right after birth and will continue to groom them regularly as they grow. Rosalie also uses grooming to stimulate her cubs to urinate and defecate. You may see her nursing (feeding) her cubs, and as they get older, she and her cubs will play together.

Cheetah cubs chirp when they are looking for their mom, or when they are hungry or cold. You may also hear the cubs and Rosalie purring.
Sometimes, animal moms can have trouble caring for their young or do not make enough milk to feed them. If that’s the case, keepers will step in and hand-rear the cubs.
Probably not. These cheetah cubs are part of an extensive breeding program at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.
Not counting Rosalie’s new cubs, 26 cheetahs live on the 9-acre breeding facility and the about 2-acre satellite Cheetah Ridge facility in Front Royal, Virginia. They are purposefully nestled away in a quiet area, because cheetahs breed more successfully in quiet environments. Fifteen litters totaling 63 cubs have been born at SCBI since 2010.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s legacy of conservation work extends beyond the public Zoo in Washington, D.C., to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Scientists at SCBI study and breed more than 20 species, including some that were once extinct in the wild, such as black-footed ferrets and scimitar-horned oryx.

Animals thrive in specialized barns and building complexes spread over more than 1,000 acres. The sprawling environment allows for unique studies that contribute to the survival of threatened, difficult-to-breed species with distinct needs, especially those requiring large areas, natural group sizes and minimal public disturbance.

The cheetahs may have animal visitors in their den overnight! Because SCBI is located in the Shenandoah mountains, native wildlife often makes its way onto the 3,200-acre property. The risk posed to the cheetah cubs is minimal, especially since they have mom Rosalie around to protect them. The visiting opossums also provide a valuable service by eating any ticks they find in the cheetah yards. Occasionally, keepers do catch and remove opossums, but more often than not, these visitors choose to leave on their own.