4 cheetah cubs born at Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park

Four cheetah cubs were born to a first-time mother at the Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland,...
Four cheetah cubs were born to a first-time mother at the Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska(Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:02 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A safari park just outside Omaha welcomes four cheetah cubs.

According to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the four cheetah cubs were born Nov. 4 this year to mother Clio and father Refu.

The cubs were born at an off-display breeding site at the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Park in Ashland.

Clio is a first-time mother and came to the Wildlife Safari Park in April 2022 from the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida and is 5 years old. Refu came to Omaha in 2019 from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and is 8 years old. This is Refu’s second set of cubs.

The Zoo says Clio and the cubs have been left predominantly undisturbed to help with the bonding process. The cubs will likely have their first exam by zoo veterinarians on Dec. 19.

Four cheetah cubs sit with their mother, Clio
Four cheetah cubs sit with their mother, Clio(Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)

Cheetahs have typically been considered difficult to breed in captivity, but the zoo says they’ve been working together with other organizations to figure out a process.

“Not long ago, cheetahs were considered one of the more difficult species to breed in zoos,” said Dr. Jason Herrick, Vice President of Conservation and Animal Health for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “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.”

Even if you’ve been to the Wildlife Safari Park, you may not have realized there was a four-acre cheetah breeding facility on the property. The zoo says the site is not on display and gives the cheetahs space and privacy that more closely resembles their natural habitat.

It’s part of a collaboration with the National Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition. The Omaha Zoo is one of nine accredited institutions that participate in the 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.”

There have been 29 cheetah cubs born at the Wildlife Safari park since 2014.