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On October 12 at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), a cheetah mom named Rosalie gave birth to five healthy cubs. The remarkable moment was recorded live from their den, where the adorable family continues to thrive. Giving birth is no easy feat for anyone, but Rosalie was shown calmly delivering each cub, one at a time, between 5:20 a.m. and 11:17 a.m. Now, one week later, the cubs “appear to be strong, active, vocal, and eating well,” and their adorable moments are currently being livestreamed via a Cheetah Cub Cam.
Including Rosalie’s cubs, a total of 16 litters of cheetah cubs have been born at SCBI. In fact, the first cheetah cub born there was 10-year-old Nick—the father of this most recent litter. In July 2021, he was paired to breed with Rosalie based on each cheetah’s genetic makeup, temperament, and health. There are now 26 cheetahs living at the nine-acre main breeding facility at SCBI.
Through the cub cam, the adorable babies seem to be doing well and are spending most of their time nursing with their mom. The zoo staff is closely monitoring Rosalie and her cubs’ behaviors via the livestream, but they are yet to have a physical examination. “Animal care staff will leave Rosalie to bond with and care for her cubs without interference, so it may be some time before they can determine the cubs’ sexes,” explains SCBI. “Keepers will perform a health check on the cubs when Rosalie is comfortable leaving them for an extended period of time.”
In the meantime, you can tune in to the SCBI Cheetah Cub Cam where you’ll see what Rosalie and her cubs are doing in their den at any given moment. When they’re not sleeping, you’ll see the mother cheetah nursing her cubs, cleaning, and grooming them. You’ll even be able to hear the cubs chirping and purring; as they get a little older, you can watch them play together. When the cubs are around six weeks old, they will begin following their mom outside the den.
SCBI, located in Front Royal, Virginia, is part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition and is one of 10 U.S. breeding centers that work towards a “sustainable North American cheetah population under human care.” It is also part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program—managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and related facilities—that aims to maximize genetic diversity and stabilize the demographic distribution of certain species.
“Seeing Rosalie successfully care for this litter—her first—with confidence is very rewarding,” says Adrienne Crosier, cheetah reproductive biologist at SCBI and head of the AZA’s Cheetah SSP. “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.”
Check out a video of Rosalie giving birth to her five cubs below, and start watching the live Cheetah Cub Cam footage here.
Watch the incredible moment a cheetah named Rosalie gave birth to her five adorable cubs.
You can watch Rosalie and her cubs live from their den at Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.
💕🐆 The Cheetah Cub Cam is back! First-time mother Rosalie birthed 5 cubs this morning at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. They appear to be strong, active, vocal + nursing. Check out our cheetah family + watch them grow! 🎥 TUNE IN: https://t.co/gS0zpZpKsF. pic.twitter.com/P8xAUN2bT8
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) October 12, 2021
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All images via Smithsonian's National Zoo.
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