Metro Richmond Zoo welcomes 13 new cheetah cubs - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Metro Richmond Zoo welcomes 13 new cheetah cubs

(Source: Metro Richmond Zoo) (Source: Metro Richmond Zoo)
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Adorable news from the Metro Richmond Zoo as officials announced the arrival of thirteen new cheetah cubs.

According to the zoo, the first of the births began on March 21 when Milani, a second-time mom, gave birth to three cubs, two males, one female.

Days later on April 1, Vaila, a first-time mom, gave birth to seven cubs, which zoo officials say happens only one percent of the time in cheetah births.

Unfortunately, two of the cubs did not survive. One cub died when the mother did not clean the birth sac surrounding it while a second cub was born with a deformity and only lived a few hours.

Vaila's surviving five cubs are doing well.

The next day, Wiay, a first-time mom as well, gave birth to six cubs, which happens less than ten percent of the time. Due to Wiay's inexperience as a mom, she accidentally laid on one of the cubs shortly after birth and it did not survive. 

Those five are now all doing well with mom.

Cheetahs are endangered and the wild cheetah population is in a drastic decline, with only 7,500 now left in the wild in small pocketed areas in Africa. 

Breeding cheetahs in captivity is very challenging, with only a small portion of the population reproducing.

The Metro Richmond Zoo has had tremendous success in breeding cheetahs.

In the last two-and-a-half years, the zoo has had 36 cubs born from seven litters, making a significant addition to the captive cheetah population.

In addition to the number of cubs born, most of the adult cheetahs here are unrelated to the other Cheetahs in North America so the genetic value of these cubs for future breeding is extremely high.

To welcome the cheetahs to the world, Metro Richmond Zoo officials have restarted the cheetah cam. This time, the zoo will have two cameras available to watch Milani and Vaila's cubs.

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