Just a month after Busch Gardens took in a cheetah cub whose mother wasn’t caring for it, the park’s animal care team has identified the perfect four-legged friend for the 8-week-old cat: a 16-week old female yellow Labrador puppy.
The two were first introduced over the weekend and have been spending supervised play times together each day. Eventually, the pair will live together and even travel together, helping the park’s education team teaching the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the importance of Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts.
Although this is Busch Gardens’ first cub-and-puppy combo, it is not uncommon in the zoological community for a single cheetah to be raised with a canine companion. “Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” said Tim Smith, one of Busch Gardens’ animal curators. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life.”