Cheetah Gives Birth To Offspring At National Zoo

Oct 14, 2021 by apost team

It's always incredibly exciting when animals give birth to their offspring and we're able to capture the moment. But it's even more exciting when vulnerable populations of animals are able to reproduce. 

That was the case when a 5-year-old cheetah named Rosalie gave birth to a litter of five cubs on Tuesday at the National Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. Captured on camera, Rosalie birthed the litter of five cubs between 5:20 and 11:17 a.m. Meanwhile, the father of the litter is a 10-year-old cheetah named Nick, who was also born at the institute.

The National Zoo released a statement shortly after that revealed all five cubs were strong, vocal and eating well. They added that they'd be waiting for Rosalie to bond with her babies before performing any health checks and finding out which sex each cub is. In the meantime, Rosalie and her cubs would be monitored closely via video feed.

A cheetah biologist at the institute named Adrienne Crosier stated, "Seeing Rosalie successfully care for this litter — her first — with confidence is very rewarding." What's more, the public is also able to watch how Rosalie and her cubs are doing via the institute's live feed, which can be found here. Crosier added:

​“Being able to witness the first moments of a cheetah’s life is incredibly special. As webcam viewers watch our cheetah family grow, play and explore their surroundings, we hope the experience brings them joy and helps them feel a deeper connection to this vulnerable species.”

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Although the public can view the cubs and their mother via video footage in the meantime, the institute hasn't yet announced whether they'll be transferred from its premises to the National Zoo where visitors would have a chance to see them in person.

Since 2007, the Smithsonian Institute has fostered 16 litters of cheetah cubs. As a member of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition — a group of 10 breeding centers in the US that aim to preserve and grow the North American cheetah population — Tuesday's birth was a very exciting moment indeed.

Cheetahs are considered vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, although scientists are said to be calling for their status to be changed to endangered. Their population numbers are decreasing and due to a number of factors including human conflict, poaching and habitat loss, there are only between 7,000–7,500 cheetahs estimated to be in the wild. 

They are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa in small, isolated populations. Sadly, cheetahs have all but vanished from about 90 percent of their historic range on the continent, while in Asia, they're extinct except for one single population of around 50 individuals in central Iran.

Well known for being the planet's fastest land animal, they can reach speeds of 50 to 80 mph. Cheetahs are also the least dangerous big cat, however since they do feed on livestock and game, they are often persecuted in retaliation by farmers. 79 percent of cheetah populations live in groups of 100 or fewer individuals.

Aren't Rosalie's five cubs simply adorable? What do you think about the Smithsonian Institute's work in helping to preserve and grow the North American cheetah population? Pass this on to any animal lovers in your life so they can read about the good news too!

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