Five cheetah cubs were born Tuesday morning at the National Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Rosalie, a five-year-old cheetah, birthed the litter between 5:20 and 11:17 a.m.
"Seeing Rosalie successfully care for this litter—her first—with confidence is very rewarding,” Adrienne Crosier, a cheetah biologist at the institute, said.
The offspring all appear to be strong and are eating well, the National Zoo said in a statement. It added that animal care staff will wait for Rosalie to bond with her cubs before performing a health check and determining their sexes.
In the meanwhile, the litter is being closely monitored by staff via video feed.
A live feed of the cubs and their mother can be viewed here. Zoo officials cautioned that the cheetahs may wander off-camera to another den at times.
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“Being able to witness the first moments of a cheetah’s life is incredibly special. As webcam viewers watch our cheetah family grow, play and explore their surroundings, we hope the experience brings them joy and helps them feel a deeper connection to this vulnerable species,” Crosier said.
Officials didn’t announce whether the cubs would eventually be transferred from the institute in Virginia to the Zoo in D.C. where visitors can see them in person.
The Smithsonian Institute has fostered 16 litters of cheetah cubs since 2007 and is a member of the Cheetah Breeding Center Coalition, a group of cheetah breeding centers focused on preserving and growing the North American cheetah population.