5 Cheetah Cubs, Born by C-Section, Under Critical Care at Cincinnati Zoo


Five cheetah cubs born under what Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden officials describe as difficult circumstances are now undergoing around-the-clock critical care in the zoo’s nursery.

Their mother, 5-year-old Willow, gave birth to the cubs – three boys and two girls – via a rare C-section March 8 at Mast Farm, the zoo’s regional cheetah breeding facility in Clermont County. They were immediately moved to the zoo’s nursery, where they’ve been bottle fed every three hours.

Mark Campbell, the zoo’s director of animal health, said it was only the third C-section he has been involved in, and the only one on a cheetah, during his 25 years at the Cincinnati Zoo. And it took a village: A surgeon, assistant surgeon, anesthesiologist, veterinary technicians and five members of the zoo’s animal staff took part in the procedure.

Zoo officials knew Willow was due to give birth soon and noticed she’d developed some issues that seemed abnormal.

“The decision to do the procedure is a complicated and involved discussion amongst the veterinary, curatorial and keeper staff,” Campbell said. “The procedure went well. Mom is recovering, and we’re working hard to put some weight on the premature cubs.

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SOURCE: USA Today; Cincinnati Enquirer, Shauna Steigerwald