A Labrador Retriever puppy named Amani will grow up with two cheetah cubs, name Winspear and Kamau, at Dallas Zoo. It is hoped that the Lab pup will be a calming influence on the big cats as they grow to adulthood.
The 8-week-old male cheetah cubs have have already arrived in Dallas, the zoo said. Prior to this they were supervised by a team of experts for two weeks at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va, where they were born.
The cubs will be raised together with an 8-week-old black Labrador Retriever puppy, the zoo said in a statement last Thursday.
“Zoological experts have found that because dogs are naturally comfortable in public settings, Amani will provide a calming influence for the cubs, as well as another playmate as they grow to adulthood,” the statement said.
Cheetahs are endangered with an estimated 10,000 in existence, the zoo said.
Adult cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world, reaching speeds of of 60 miles per hour (97 kmph), according to National Geographic.
At present, the cheetah cubs weigh about 6 and 8 pounds (2.7 kg and 3.6 kg). Their weight and height when fully grown is expected to be about up to 140 pounds (63 kg) and 3 feet (1 meter) tall at the shoulder , the zoo said.
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