At the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Cheetah Breeding Facility in Ohio, United States, on March 8th, a female cheetah named Willow, who is five years old, gave birth to five cheetah babies through C-section. Tragically, the mother did not make it through the difficult recovery process after having surgery.
However, the orphaned baby cheetahs have fortunately found an adopted father in Blakely, an Australian Shepherd who is five years old and works as a resident nanny at the zoo.
Since the moment they were born, the zoo’s nursery has been providing the newborn cubs with the necessary medical attention they require. The employees of the nursery have been there for them every hour, giving them massages and bottle feeding them while keeping a close eye on how much weight they have gained.
But because the infants, which include three boys and two girls, require some kind of fuzzy comfort, an Australian Shepherd was brought into the nursery to fulfill the role of a surrogate parent. The cubs need to get enough physical activity, and climbing over Blakely is an excellent method to motivate them to move around.
The interactions between the cubs and the dog are being monitored by the Head Nursery Keeper, Dawn Strasser. She remarked that there was an instant bond among the members of the group and said: As the cubs get older, Blakely’s function in their growth will transition from that of a climbable companion and a warm body to that of an educator and a model.
In the past, Blakely has cared for a cheetah cub by the name of Savannah as well as a baby goat by the name of Dale. She taught them both that there is a significant difference between friendly biting and the beginning of a battle, which is an essential lesson for the cubs to learn once they are older and larger.
During the next 8–12 weeks, the orphaned cubs will continue to spend their time in the nursery with their canine companion. You can see Blakely in action, along with her adoptive cubs, here: