The siblings were born July 9 to a first-time mother, Erin, according to a statement from SCBI officials. All appear to be healthy and fine.
“It is really exciting to have such a large and healthy litter of cubs, especially from first-time parents,” said Adrienne Crosier, a cheetah biologist, in a news release.
It is the 12th cheetah litter at SCBI, bringing the number of cubs born since 2010 to 53.
Two of the cubs’ grandparents also live at the facility near Front Royal, Virginia. That makes them the third generation from some of the first cheetahs to ever live and breed there.
“That’s really good news for the cheetah population worldwide,” Crosier said. “A global self-sustaining cheetah population in human care is becoming even more important with the continued decrease of animal numbers in the wild.”
The cubs will probably move on to other zoos or facilities after they mature and join the Association of Zoo and Aquariums’ cheetah species survival plan.
Cheetahs are listed as “vulnerable” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are only about 7,000 cheetahs in the wild living in very fragmented habitats, SCBI said.