The Metro Richmond Zoo is excited to announce the birth of 2 more litters of cheetah cubs. Lana and Kitu, who sired our famous first litter of 5 cubs recently gave birth to six more cubs (2 males and 4 females) on April 29, 2015. The birth of six cubs is a rare event that only happens 8% of the time in cheetah births. Lana is doing a great job caring for all six cubs as demonstrated by their rapid and healthy growth.
On May 12, 2015, Khari, a first-time mom, gave birth to 4 cubs (2 males and 2 females), sired by Hatari, a first-time dad. Unfortunately, one female only lived a few hours. We have been carefully watching and weighing the other 3 every day. One cub began to lose weight, so we pulled him, put him on antibiotics and are currently bottle feeding him every 2-3 hours. He has been doing very well and has steadily gained weight. We hope to reintroduce him back to his mom soon. Compared to Lana, Khari’s maternal skills have been slower to kick in. We are also concerned about her lack of milk production. We are monitoring the progress of each individual cub’s health.
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 zoological parks is very challenging, with only a small portion of the population reproducing. The 20 cubs born in four litters here at the Metro Richmond Zoo in the last year and a half are a very significant addition to the cheetah population in expert care.