Toledo Zoo announces birth of two cheetah cubs

April 24, 2007 09:45 AM EDT

SOUTH TOLEDO — It’s spring, and that means more animal births at The Toledo Zoo. The zoo announced Tuesday that Shaka, the cheetah, gave birth to two cubs earlier this month. Using monitors in the cheetah’s enclosure, animal care staff members at the zoo say they have seen the cubs nursing, and Shaka is demonstrating excellent maternal skills.

Zookeepers say Shaka and her cubs, whose sex has yet to be determined, will be off-exhibit for approximately three months until the cubs are old enough to go outside.

According to a news release from the zoo, seven-year-old Shaka was bred as part of a Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure a future for this threatened species. Shaka was sent to the Cincinnati Zoo last August and bred with their male, named Wild Boy, returning pregnant on February 16.

The zoo says this is the first time in the history of the cheetah Species Survival Plan that a female has returned to her home institution to give birth. Shaka was also sent to the Cincinnati Zoo for breeding in 2003. She had a litter there and came back to Toledo with four cubs. Three of those four cubs are now at other institutions as part of this breeding program and the fourth will be sent out later this month.

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