Five cheetah cubs have been born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia.
Eight-year-old Echo gave birth to the litter of three males and two females Sept. 12, less than one year after another female cheetah, Amani, gave birth to two cubs at the Front Royal campus.
Like a feline-focused episode of “Maury,” the zoo said there are two potential sires, Asante or Flash. Scientists at the zoo will perform genetic testing to figure that out when the cubs are old enough to have their blood collected.
Asante sired the two cubs born last October.
The zoo said staff will leave Echo to bond with her cubs without interference, but staff will perform health checks when the opportunity presents itself. So far, the zoo said the cubs appear to be strong, active and eating well.
To see the cubs, visit the zoo’s Cheetah Cub Cam.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is part of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition, which is a group of 10 cheetah breeding centers across the country that aim to create and maintain a sustainable cheetah population. The zoo said the five new cubs are a significant addition to the coalition’s Cheetah Species Survival Plan.
Since 2007, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has celebrated 81 cheetah births.