Captivity-born baby cheetahs doing fine

June 17, 2011 at 4:06 PM
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FRONT ROYAL, Va., June 17 (UPI) -- Five little cheetahs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institution in Front Royal, Va., are pictures of cub health, an institution biologist says.

On average, the cubs born May 28 now weigh about 2 pounds, are doing well and are very active, the facility said Friday in a release.

Keepers will monitor the newborns while giving the mother, 6-year-old Amani, privacy to bond with her offspring, the institution said.

"When I was weighing the last cub, he was being a very tough little guy," said Adrienne Crosier, a cheetah biologist with the facility. "We're already starting to see differences in their dispositions and look forward to watching them grow and learning all we can from them."

Cheetahs, the fastest animals on land, are struggling to stay ahead of threats to their survival in the wild, with an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 creatures in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers cheetahs a vulnerable species.

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