Lo, unto you, four cheetah cubs and two clouded leopard kittens have been born. Cat lovers on the internet can now coo over the rare infant cats, thanks to Washington, DC’s National Zoo “Cheetah Cub Cam” and recently released photos from Zoo Miami.
A five-year-old cheetah, Echo, gave birth to four cubs on April 8th, and it was all caught on webcam. Anyone at home can see the cubs in real time since the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is sharing the same live stream that its staff is watching to keep an eye on the newborns from a distance. They’re giving Echo space to bond with her cubs without being bothered by people.
“I’m eager to watch the newborn cubs in their early days,” Steve Monfort, the John and Adrienne Mars director at the National Zoo, said in a press release. “During this extremely tumultuous and isolating time, we want the new cheetah cam and all our live animal webcams to provide much needed moments of relief and inspiration from our natural world.”
Yesterday was also the day that Zoo Miami decided to share photos of its clouded leopard kittens with the world.
The zoo shared 10 photos of its two kittens (one male, one female) on Instagram. The zoo’s communications director, Ron Magill, shared more pictures on his personal Facebook page from the kittens’ first neonatal exam on February 26th. These glimpses into the young cats’ lives are especially precious since clouded leopards are one of the most secretive species of wild cats.
Zoo Miami is taking extra precautions with these little ones because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff members wear masks and gloves and step into disinfecting footbaths when working in the feline areas. Four tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo became sick after being cared for by a zookeeper who had COVID-19 but was not showing symptoms.
Both cheetahs and clouded leopards are considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which keeps track of the world’s endangered species. The cheetah cubs are Echo’s first litter and are part of a breeding program aimed at sustaining the number of cheetahs in human care. Zoo Miami’s kittens, born on February 11th, are their parents’ second successful litter and are “developing well,” according to the zoo.