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Cincy zoo caring for premature cheetah cubs

Posted: 12:31 PM, Mar 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-18 23:12:31Z

CINCINNATI – Five cheetah cubs are receiving critical care at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden after being born via a rare C-section last week.

The cubs, three boys and two girls, were born to mother Willow at the zoo’s regional cheetah breeding facility in Clermont County March 8. They were then moved to the zoo’s nursery, where they will stay for at least 8-12 weeks.

Photo provided

The early birth means that the cubs’ immune systems are not developed very well, so zoo staff members are working to keep them healthy, zoo Director of Animal Health Mark Campbell said.

“The procedure went well,” he said. “Mom is recovering, and we’re working hard to put some weight on the premature cubs. Important benchmarks for survival of these cubs are the first week and month of life."

Visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the cubs, but most of their care will be behind the scenes, zoo officials said.

The Clermont County breeding facility is one of just nine across the U.S. set up by zoos for breeding cheetahs. There have been 54 cheetah cubs born there since it opened in 2002.