On Sunday, Oct. 3, our 2-week-old male cheetah cub was transferred to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, and introduced to his foster cheetah family. I am happy to say it’s going well and the Wildlife Safari staff believes he nursed several times during his first night!
Before settling in with his new family, I had the honor of accompanying him from coast to coast. Early Sunday morning, carnivore caretaker Vicki Lake drove the cub and me from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, to Washington County Airport in Pennsylvania. There, the cub and I boarded a LightHawk flight. LightHawk is a conservation non-profit that works with volunteer pilots to advance conservation, through flying animals, conservation scientists, and decision makers across North America.
The cub did wonderful on the roughly six-hour trip from Pennsylvania to Oregon. While he did not sleep much, he did allow me to feed him twice. Once we landed there was about an hour drive to Wildlife Safari. Their animal care team brought some hay from the foster cheetah family’s den placed it in the cubs’ carrier. The cub was only surrounded by people and stuffed animals for the previous two weeks. To increase his chance of foster mom, Jezebel accepting him, he needed to smell like a cheetah!
Once at Wildlife Safari, we immediately introduced the cub to his new family. For the first several hours with the foster family, he wandered around the den. Jezebel was extremely patient and continued to bring him back to the cub pile. Finally, he joined the other cubs and has been part of the family ever since.
While this is the end of our #CheetahCubdates on this cub, we are thrilled by the success of this foster pairing. From the entire SCBI team, I would like to extend a thank you to LightHawk and Wildlife Safari for working with us to make this happen. And, of course, a huge thank you to everyone who has been following along on this cub’s story since day one. We’re looking forward to more cheetah cubs at SCBI soon – stay tuned!