The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha recently welcomed four cute cheetah cubs to their stable of exhibits. The zoo announced the birth of its newest cheetah cubs on Tuesday. Mother Clio gave birth to the quartet at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park on Nov. 14. The proud papa is named Refu.
The recent birth of four new cheetah cubs at the Wildlife Safari Park means that a total of 29 have been born there since 2014. Clio has been taking care of her cubs by nursing them since they were born. The zoo staff wants to make sure that the family bonds, so they have not disturbed them since the cubs arrived. By Dec. 19, the cheetahs’ caretaker will give them their first vet exam.
Clio, a five-year-old cheetah, arrived at the wildlife park in April 2022 from the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida. Refu, The eight-year-old father of Clio’s litter mate siblings, arrived at the park in 2019 from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska is part of the National Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition. They are one of nine Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions that help promote the responsible breeding of cheetahs for conservation purposes.
25 cheetahs now reside at the zoo
Dr. Jason Herrick is the vice president of conservation and animal health for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. He was pleased about the new cubs. “These cubs are a great example of the collaboration benefits among zoos,” explained Dr. Herrick. He noted that not long ago, cheetahs were difficult to breed at zoos.
In total, 25 cheetahs live at the Wildlife Safari Park– 11 males, 5 females, and 4 cubs. Furthermore, five other females who are a part of the zoo’s Interactive Animals Program live off exhibit. This includes four sisters and two male cheetahs. The Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park has a four-acre cheetah breeding facility that is not on display to the public. This allows space for the cheetahs to roam and more closely resembles their natural habitat. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium participates in the National Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition. This organization consists of nine Association of Zoos and Aquariums -accredited institutions.
“In addition to the spacious, off-exhibit facilities and dedicated care staff, the key ingredient seems to be choice,” explained Dr. Herrick. “For most species, we set up one male and one female on a high-stakes blind date and hope for the best. With cheetahs, the large facilities permit us to maintain multiple males and females. [This] allows them to pick their mate among several eligible bachelors or bachelorettes.” The Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska is now closed for the winter season. It will open again come March 1st.