National Zoo Gains Pair Of Cheetah Cubs | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

National Zoo Gains Pair Of Cheetah Cubs

Play associated audio
Adrienne Crosier, Smithsonian National Zoo

After a complicated birth, the Smithsonian's National Zoo is welcoming two new cheetah cubs. The duo, born April 23, have had a hard time of it so far, especially by the standards of animals raised in captivity.

"They have been hand-raised for the past four weeks and now we are announcing them to the public," said cheetah biologist Adrienne Crosier, who helped deliver the cubs at the zoo's research facility in Front Royal, Va. a month ago.

"The first cub was born naturally," said Crosier. "The mother then stopped having contractions and any signs of being in labor."

The biologists anaesthetized the mother, and delivered three more cubs via C-section, a rare and dangerous procedure for cheetahs. Unfortunately, two of the cubs had trouble breathing, and ultimately died.

"We worked for about three hours on those cubs trying to resuscitate them," said Crosier. "We were rubbing them. Doing some chest compressions. We were able to get one cub breathing on her own."

Since then, she says the biologists have been acting like any new parents: "Pretty much bottle feeding around the clock."

And Crosier says the zoo is thrilled about its newest residents.

"They are definitely losing numbers in the wild, and that's something we're paying very close attention to. In addition to the wild population, the North American population is in trouble. So these two cubs are very important," she said. There are only about 7,500 to 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild, thanks largely to hunting and habitat loss.

Of course, preserving genetic diversity isn't the only thing that endears the young cheetah cubs to their handlers.

"They're very cute. They're very fuzzy. They're very fun to watch play with each other for sure," said Crosier.

The cheetah cubs will be on public exhibit later this summer.


Handmade Signs From Homeless People Lead To Art, Understanding

Artist Willie Baronet is on a 24-city, 31-day trek across the country this month, buying handmade signs from homeless people. He says the project has changed the way he views homelessness.

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.

What It's Like To Own Your Very Own Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn't dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.