CINCINNATI — This is the cutest thing you'll see today!
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has enlisted the services of retired Australian Shepherd “Blakely” to help its neonate staff care for a baby cheetah that was the lone survivor of a litter of three born on July 7.
Cheetah moms do not receive enough stimulation from a single cub to produce an adequate milk supply, so the Zoo’s expert neonate team stepped in.
“We can provide nutrition, medical care and some of the TLC that baby animals need, but Blakely can serve as a role model, companion and surrogate parent for them,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s Head of Neonate Care Dawn Strasser. “Blakely will teach the cub animal etiquette and handle some of the social responsibilities, like snuggling, playing and disciplining, that would typically be performed by a mother.”
Blakely has helped work with several zoo animals in the past including several cheetahs, an ocelot, a takin, bat-eared foxes, an aardvark, a warthog, sibling wallabies, and a litter of Malayan tiger cubs.