VIDEO: Baby cheetah paired with puppy as lifelong companion - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

VIDEO: Baby cheetah paired with puppy as lifelong companion

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Cheetah cub chosen to be puppy's lifelong companion Cheetah cub chosen to be puppy's lifelong companion
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A baby cheetah rejected by his mother has a new start on life, and a new life partner.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced that a 6-week old cheetah cub, named Ruuxa, was chosen to be hand raised by keepers, after his mother rejected him.

Cheetahs are usually born in litters of three to five cubs, and when only one cub is born, as in the case of Ruuxa, the mother often rejects the cub because the chance of survival in the wild is low.

Therefore, the cheetah cub was paired with a puppy, a 7-week old Rhodesian ridgeback puppy named Raina.

The puppy will be raised with the cheetah and serve as his lifelong companion.

"Because the cheetah was by himself and did not have any siblings we wanted him to have a companion immediately," animal training manager Susie Ekard said. "They definitely like to play, and when they take naps together, they often will snuggle up together for that warmth and closeness."

Safari Park cheetahs selected for training as ambassadors are paired early in life with a domestic dog.

Keepers say the dog’s body language will communicate to the cheetah that there’s nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the cheetah.

The Safari Park currently has four cheetah ambassadors.

For related stories: http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/

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