Four cheetah cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido enjoyed bloody, meat-filled birthday cakes Monday.
Males Wgasa and Refu and females Mahala and Pumzika, who all turned one on July 13, initially hesitated before licking through the blood and chicken broth flavored ice layers of their birthday cakes according to zoo officials.
The cubs had never seen ice cake before, but after their mother began to enjoy the meat pastry, they tucked into their desserts. The cake included a “one” written in ground meat and a cupcake and candle shaped topper made of ground beef and frozen blood and sprinkled with chucks of meat.
The keepers gave the cakes as an enrichment item made by the nutritional team to keep the cheetahs energetic and active and allow them to engage in natural behaviors.
First-time mother Addison gave birth to the cubs on July 13, 2014 at the Safari Park’s off-site breeding center. They now live at the Okavango Outpost within the park.
Classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, cheetahs are found in Africa and a small portion of Iran. The zoo has been breeding cubs for forty years, with cheetahs giving birth to more than 150 cubs in that time.