Cincinnati Zoo Cheetah Adds Cub from Another Mother to Her Litter

Posted June 20, 2024

Cross fostering gives singleton cub better chance of survival 

A cheetah that gave birth to two cubs earlier this month at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s off-site breeding facility has adopted another cub that arrived from Oregon on Monday night.  A singleton cub does not provide enough stimulation to produce lactation, so the decision was made to add the Oregon cub to Etosha’s litter.

“We coordinate with the other cheetah breeding centers, so litters are born semi close together so that if cross fostering situations arise the cubs are as close to the same age as possible,” said Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Cheetah Breeding Center head keeper Tom Tenhundfeld. “We have successfully introduced cubs at our facility before, including the most genetically valuable cub in the North American population, and everything is going well with this intro.”

The foster cub, a male, arrived in Cincinnati on Monday night and was placed in an incubator overnight to stabilize before being placed in the nest box with the other cubs on Tuesday.  Since then, keepers report seeing great maternal behaviors from Etosha.

“Nursing has been observed, and she’s being attentive to all three cubs,” said Tenhundfeld. “It’s a good thing that cheetahs can’t count!”

As a thank you for providing transportation for the cub, Lighthawk Conservation Flying has been given the opportunity to name the cub.  The Zoo will post updates about the cubs, including the names, on its social channels.

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of ten institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that participate in the Breeding Center Coalition (BCC). Working closely with the AZA’s Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP), the BCC’s goal is to create a sustainable cheetah population that will prevent extinction of the world’s fastest land animal.

Cheetahs are endangered, and their population worldwide has shrunk from about 100,000 in 1900 to an estimated 7,000 cheetahs today. Cincinnati Zoo has been working with partners across Africa for decades to support cheetah conservation efforts to ensure this wide-ranging species thrives into the future.

The Zoo supports projects to promote farmer-predator coexistence and thus help protect the free-roaming cheetah, including Cheetah Outreach in South Africa, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, Cheetah Conservation Botswana in Botswana, Lion Landscapes in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia, and more.

The cubs are not visible to the public, but visitors can see cheetahs at the Cincinnati Zoo during regular zoo hours – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  Cheetah Encounters, where you get to see these magnificent animals run at top speeds, happen Friday-Tuesday at 10:30am and noon. Members get Early Entry and are welcome to enter the Zoo at 9 a.m.

DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online!  That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4!