ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – For the first time in Saint Louis Zoo history, a cheetah has given birth to eight cheetah cubs!
The cubs — three boys and five girls — were born on Nov. 26 at the zoo’s River’s Edge Cheetah Breeding Center.
The mother and her cubs are doing well, and will remain in their private, indoor maternity den behind the scenes at River’s Edge for the next several months, according to a news release from the zoo.
In over 430 litters documented by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, this is the first time a female cheetah has produced and reared, on her own, a litter of eight cubs at a zoo, the release says.
The average litter size is three to four cubs.
The first few months of life are critical for newborn cheetahs. The animal care staff are closely monitoring the family, and it appears that all eight cubs are healthy, the zoo reports.
Four-year-old Bingwa, which means “champion” in Swahili, continues to be an exemplary mother, according to the cheetah care team.
“She has quickly become adept at caring for her very large litter of cubs — grooming, nursing and caring for them attentively,” says Steve Bircher, curator of mammals/carnivores at the Saint Louis Zoo.
To help protect cheetahs in the wild, the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Center for Conservation of Carnivores in Africa is working with its partners in Tanzania and Namibia to coordinate cheetah conservation efforts, including education, research and other programs to mitigate human-cheetah conflicts.
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