Two cheetah litters born at National Zoo

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The National Zoo welcomed two litters of cheetah cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. (WPVI)

The National Zoo welcomed two litters of cheetah cubs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

Five of the cheetahs were born on March 23. Five days later, on March 28, seven more cubs were born.

Unfortunately, two of the cubs in the second litter did not survive. They were smaller than their littermates and less active. Zoo officials said this is common among large litters. The average size of a cheetah litter is three.

The two mothers, Miti and Happy, both bred in December and were matched with male partners who fir their temperament. They were also matched with the male cats to ensure genetic diversity.

The cubs were the second generation born as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Cheetah Species Survival Plan. Since breeding started in 2010, 46 cubs have been born.

The staff is monitoring both cheetah families via closed-circuit television in the nest boxes.
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