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These cheetah cubs are an adorable and important litter

The vulnerable species has seven new members.

A litter of seven cheetah cubs has been born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI).

Born to first-time mother Erin, the cubs at the zoo in Virginia are a boon for a species listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – with only about 7,000 left in the wild.

The adorable litter is particularly important as mother Erin’s genes are not well represented in the population of cheetahs in captivity in the US – and father Rico is also a first-time parent.

The zoo said the cubs are healthy and well, as is Erin, who started caring for them immediately after they were born.

The cubs’ growth and development will be monitored through den cameras and visual checks.

“It is really exciting to have such a large and healthy litter of cubs, especially from first-time parents,” cheetah biologist Adrienne Crosier said.

“Two of these cubs’ grandparents also live at SCBI, so they are the third generation from some of the first cheetahs to ever live and breed here.”

“That’s really good news for the cheetah population worldwide,” said Adrienne. “A global self-sustaining cheetah population in human care is becoming even more important with the continued decrease of animal numbers in the wild.”

The litter is the 12th born at SCBI since 2010, totalling 53 cubs.

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