The Saint Louis Zoo is nationally recognized for its incredible exhibits?such as an impressive grizzly bear habitat and an indoor sanctuary for penguins and puffins?but now the zoo has another gem to add to its animal-kingdom crown: One of its cheetahs just gave birth to EIGHT cheetah cubs!
And, yes, the pictures of the wee ones are about as adorable as you could imagine.
Look at those little furballs!
Although the birth happened back in November, the Saint Louis Zoo only publicly announced the cubs? birth on Jan. 3.
The proud mama is a cheetah named Bingwa, which means ?champion? in Swahili, and for good reason. This tough mama gave birth to a litter that is nearly double the size of an average one. Cheetahs typically have about three to four cubs per litter.
This is also the first time in recorded history that a cheetah has given birth inside a zoo to such a large litter. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which has documented more than 430 litters born within zoos across the world, Bingwa?s amazing feat of motherhood is the first time a cheetah has ever birthed and reared this many cubs in captivity.
St. Louis Zoo spokesperson Steve Bircher said, ?(Bingwa) has quickly become adept at caring for her very large litter of cubs?grooming, nursing, and caring for them attentively.? To make the whole event even more heartwarming, Bircher said the cubs? birth is huge for the survival of the species. The Saint Louis Zoo said fewer than 10,000 cheetahs live in Africa today and the species has gone extinct in at least 13 countries over the past 50 years.
Still, can you imagine nursing eight babies at once? Maybe that explains why she looks a bit ? exasperated.
Either that, or she is just feeling protective of her new litter and irritated by all the picture-taking! But, here?s the good news for mama: Bingwa and her cubs are going to be kept away from prying eyes for several months before they are introduced to the public.
In the meantime, you can enjoy updates from the Saint Louis Zoo online, and don?t miss the video below to see Bingwa and her cubs in action.
Who doesn?t love baby zoo animals?