Warning: This story involving parental abandonment and cute
animals may take you on an emotional roller coaster. On April
23, two cheetah cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation
Biology Institute in Front Royal, only to be abandoned by their
The first-time mom, Ally, rejected the male cub rather
than nursing and cleaning him, which is apparently common practice
for cheetahs under human care. With three cubs still to birth,
Ally suddenly stopped having contractions, forcing SCBI vet
Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer to perform an emergency cesarean. Though cheetah cubs rarely survive this procedure, the SCBI team worked for three hours
to resuscitate the three cubs, but were only able to save one female.
“[She] is a fighter. Once we got her breathing, she just kept going,” says
Adrienne Crosier, an SCBI cheetah biologist.
Unlike our favorite foodie-themed family of
these fluffballs are currently nameless. But baby girl and boy
have been transferred to the National
in good health, and will be hand-raised until they are strong
enough to make their public debut later this summer.