Cincinnati Zoo recently welcomed a baby cheetah Kris that was the lone survivor of a litter of three cubs brought to the world by cheetah Neena. Unfortunately, since one cub can’t stimulate cheetah mom to produce adequate milk supply, Kris had to be fed and taken care of by zookeepers. While this helped her survive, the time away from the cheetah’s mom could have robed the baby cheetah from learning some valuable lessons.
This is where Australian Shepard Blakely stepped in.
Cincinnati Zoo announced that Blakely will act as a surrogate parent to Kris, and teach her everything that she would usually learn from her mother including basic animal behavior as well as how to snuggle and play.
“We put them together for the first time two days ago, and Blakely went into work mode,” – said Cincinnati Zoo’s Head of Neonate Care Dawn Strasser. “His nurturing and patience skills kicked in, and he sat still while the cub climbed on him and tried to figure out what to do with him.”
Check out Blakely and Kris getting to know each other and playing in the video below.
And here is the Kris running around and bonding with Blakely.
Blakely was Cincinnati Zoo’s nursery dog for six years, taking care of cubs that were separated from their parents or that became orphans. During his time with the zoo, this awesome dog served as a surrogate parent to cheetah cubs, but also foxes, wallabies, tiger cubs, and even goats. He retired in 2017 but ended up returning to service so he could help Kris.