While Rosalie was eating her breakfast Sunday morning, we weighed each cub and refreshed the shave marks. All the cubs were bright, active and appeared healthy.
As I mentioned in the last update, the cubs are becoming more and more mobile. When we have an expecting cheetah mom, we place boards on the bottom half of the dens to help keep the cubs from accidentally tumbling out before they are ready. Once the cubs start climbing over the board, we remove them. Animal care staff removed these boards over the weekend to allow for the cubs to follow Rosalie more easily in and out of the dens.
On Sunday afternoon, we saw Rosalie enter the new, third den we set up by the grasses. Without cameras, it is not possible for us to know for sure if she moved the cubs in there with her. However, it is very unlikely she would be in the den without the cubs. Additionally, during our daily check on the cubs Monday morning, we noticed the hay in this den was extremely matted down. The cubs were already back in the grasses by this check, but it appears the family did spend at least part of the night in the den.
The next few days and nights are forecasted to be warmer at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The family now has three dens, including a heated one, to choose from when the temperatures start to drop again. It is very natural for a cheetah mom to move her litter and Rosalie is doing an excellent job with her cubs. We will continue to do daily checks on the family, as Rosalie allows. Stay tuned for more updates!
Missing the cheetah cubs? Make sure to catch up on our previous updates!