After Donni, a 15-week-old cheetah cub, was abandoned by his mother this spring, the little feline became a resident of the Cincinnati Zoo. To keep the newly orphaned cub company, the zoo recently provided him with a new buddy: a chocolate lab puppy named Moose.
According to the video above, the pair will grow up together and keep each other socialized and active. Moose is there to help Donni learn boundaries, like when to stop biting or be more gentle—lessons he'll need when he's eventually introduced to humans. The cub is part of the zoo's Cat Ambassador Program, meaning he will be going off-campus to meet with various schools and organizations for educational purposes.
This is far from the first time a cheetah and puppy have been paired together. The Metro Richmond Zoo has a cheetah cub named Kumbali who was born as the runt of the litter. Severely malnourished, the cub had to be hand-fed and raised by the zookeepers. They also provided him with a rescue puppy named Kago to keep him company and the pair are now inseparable. Kago keeps Kumbali calm and helps relieve the cheetah of his stress.
Zoos have been experimenting with the cheetah/puppy pairing for about three decades. It began when zoologists realized that dogs had a calming effect on the big cats. Dogs relax and guide cheetahs, while the cheetahs give the dogs attention and companionship. At the end of the day, everyone wins (especially those of us who get to watch cute videos, like the one above).
Image courtesy of Facebook Video.
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