Newborn Cheetah Cub

A newborn cheetah cub Kiburi at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opens his eyes, taking in the world for the first time last week.
Two of the Safari Park’s hand-raised cheetahs, Makena and Quint became proud parents to the cub. The cub is their first-born, and has been named ‘Kiburi’ – meaning ‘proud’ in Swahili.
Makena gave birth to 2 cubs on November 14, but the first died shortly after, from unknown causes.

Newborn cheetah cub

As is common in the wild, the mother showed signs of abandoning Kiburi.
Due to the high mortality rate in cheetah cubs, it is not in their best interest to raise only one cub.

Newborn cheetah cub

[Sandy Craig, San Diego Zoo Senior Nursery Keeper]:

“Kiburi is one of our most purring cats that we’ve had. Most of the cats we get – cheetah cubs – don’t usually show too much emotion – if you want to call it that – but Kiburi was purring from day one.”

Newborn cheetah cub

The 1.4 pound little big-cat spends 20 to 22 hours a day sleeping in the nursery, but gets woken up every two-and-a-half hours to feed on a bottle of special formula.

Newborn cheetah cub

As a result, the zoo took Kiburi into the nursery shortly after birth and the cub appears very grateful.

Sandy Craig, San Diego Zoo Senior Nursery Keeper:

“Kiburi really loves his bottle. Anytime we wake him up to eat, he instantly knows it’s time to eat and he starts rooting around and as soon as he gets a taste for the milk he scarfs it down and soon after he goes back to sleep.”

If they’re lucky, visitors to the Safari Park can see Kiburi at the nursery during the 2 hours a day when he isn’t sleeping.

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