SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The cuteness factor just increased three-fold at Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo. Zoo officials Wednesday announced the birth of three cheetah cubs.
The cubs were born May 2 – the first cheetah cubs born here in 14 years.
In a news release, zookeeper Sheila Samek said “For two years we have been trying to breed the female, Roni, and it was getting very frustrating. So, when she and Tendagi finally bred, and the cubs were born, it was really exciting.”
Cheetah births are rare. The big cats are an endangered species and are targeted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) for breeding in order to preserve a sustainable population.
DPZ officials say Roni and her cubs will not be on exhibit for the time being are off until they are cubs moving around well and the zoo’s veterinarian is able to do a checkup and determine their sex.
Kids are encouraged to help name the triplets with a drawing contest. Children ages 3-12 are invited to draw a picture of the cheetah triplets and suggest a name for each one. When they bring the submission to the zoo, the child will receive free entry for that day-one entry per drawing and child.
The contest runs until June 4, and the top 5 submissions will win passes to the zoo. Each submission should include name, age, phone number and mailing address on the back of the drawing.
(edited news release)