OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) – The Omaha Zoo is welcoming several cheetah cubs that were born in early November.  

According to a release from the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, four cubs were born to mother Clio and father Refu at Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park.  

“These cubs are a great example of the collaboration benefits among zoos,” said Vice President of Conservation and Animal Health Dr. Jason Herrick, “Not long ago, cheetahs were considered one of the more difficult species to breed in zoos. Over the last couple of decades, the members of the National Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition, including our wildlife Safari Park, have worked together to really figure out how to breed cheetahs.”  

At the Wildlife Safari Park, there is a four-acre cheetah breeding facility that is off-display, according to the release. The facility allows space, and privacy, and resembles the natural habitat for cheetahs.  

The release specified that the Omaha Zoo is one of nine associations of zoos and aquariums accredited institutions that work with the National Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition.  

“In addition to the spacious, off-exhibit facilities and dedicated care staff, the key ingredient seems to be choice,” said 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, which allows them to pick their mate among several eligible bachelors or bachelorettes. The result has been 29 cubs born at our Wildlife Safari Park since 2014, and a very healthy population of cheetahs in U.S. zoos.”  

5-year-old Clio joined the zoo in April 2022, while 8-year-old Refu came to the zoo in March 2019. The release specified that this is the second set of four cubs that Refu has fathered. Clio, who is a first-time mother, has been attentive and the cubs have been mostly undisturbed for the bonding process.  

The cubs are expected to have their first exam by the zoo’s veterinary team on December 19.

The Wildlife Safari Park is home to twenty cheetahs currently. Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, and there are 12,000 to 15,000 cheetahs remaining in the wild, according to the release.