Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nat Geo - A Perfect Storm of Cute: Cheetah Cubs Grow Up With Puppy

Prepare for a cute overload: The Dallas Zoo has paired two cheetah cubs with a black Labrador retriever puppy. 

The two male cubs are part of the zoo’s public outreach program, and the hope is that the puppy will act as a friend, companion, and calming influence on the shy cats. (Related: “Q&A: Unlikely Animal Friendships.”)

“Cheetahs are timid by nature,” said Sean Greene, vice president of guest experiences at the Dallas Zoo in Texas. By pairing them with a puppy, which is used to being around humans, trainers expect the dog’s calm demeanor will rub off on the cats. Eventually, all three animals will be part of the zoo’s public outreach programming, so they can raise awareness of the endangered status of cheetahs.

All three babies are eight weeks old. The two male cubs—named Winspear and Kamau—were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia on July 8. Kamau weighs about seven pounds (three kilograms) and his brother Winspear weighs about nine pounds (four kilograms).    More