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Cheetah becomes foster mom at Virginia zoo

A cheetah who recently became a new mom took on another cub and acted as its foster parent, USA Today reports.

According to the news source, two cheetahs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, gave birth during the month of December. Five-year-old Amani and 9-year-old Zazi both welcomed their newborns into the world without any other babies in the litter, a rarity for the wild creature.

When this happens, cheetahs usually cannot produce enough milk for one, so zoo officials decided to put both cub's under Zani's care.

"When Zazi gave birth, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to give both cubs a chance at survival as one litter under her care without any additional interference by us," Adrienne Crosier, SCBI cheetah biologist, told the news outlet.

He added that only a few institutions in the world have successfully cross-fostered a cheetah cub, and this was the first instance of SCBI doing so.

According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, cheetahs are categorized as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Animals.
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