After the mother of two 3-week-old cheetah cubs refused to care for them, staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has stepped in to fill the void.
An eight-person team at the park’s Animal Care Center nursery monitors the cheetah sisters’ health daily and bottle feeds them specially designed formula for baby cheetahs. The staff even goes as far as grooming the cubs to simulate the grooming they would receive from their mom.
Soon Yellow and Purple, temporary names given to the cubs based on their ID markings, will get to enjoy solid food. Come their 2 month birthday, they will be weaned from the formula. Yellow and Purple were born on November 19.
Guests visiting the Safari Park can visit the sisters in their nursery at the Nairobi Station between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Don’t expect too much cheetah frolicking at this point, though. According to park staff, the cubs sleep close to 22 hours per day and the lights in the nursery are usually dim to simulate a dark cheetah den.
The Safari Park is one of nine breeding facilities involved in the cheetah Breeding Center Coalition which aims to preserve the cat’s population which the park says has been reduced from 100,000 to 10,000 over the last 116 years.
San Diego Zoo Global has bred more than 150 cheetah cubs during its 40-year breeding program.