Spotted Bundle of Fur

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Well, you’ve probably seen him by now, our newest, fuzziest addition to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Animal Care Center! Say hello to Kiburi, our 19-day-old cheetah cub. His mother, Makena, who was hand raised herself, gave birth to two cubs in the late afternoon on November 14, 2010. (Read about Makena’s ultrasound procedure in New View of Cheetah Conservation). Unfortunately, one cub died a few hours after birth, and keepers had to intervene when Makena began showing signs of abandoning her remaining cub. He was brought to the Animal Care Center, where he immediately nursed a warm bottle for nursery keepers; soon after this, he began to purr. His weight at birth was less than a pound at 451 grams!

Kiburi, whose name means “proud” in Swahili, was named after longtime Senior Nursery Keeper Marcia Diehl (Marcia is Latin for “proud, warlike, or martial”). His current feeding schedule is every 2½ hrs (this schedule will change as he gets older). Park guests can view him inside of his temperature-controlled incubator; he sleeps between 16 and 20 hours a day! As he gets older, he will start to sleep less and become more and more playful. While his activity level increases, guests can look forward to seeing him in a larger play area!

Long-term plans for Kiburi are uncertain at this time, but he is most likely destined to become an ambassador to educate people about cheetahs and other endangered species. During this holiday season, make sure to bring friends and family to the Safari Park to catch a glimpse of our cute little bundle of fur!

Be sure to click on Kiburi’s images to view them in a larger size.

Sandy Craig is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read her previous post, Gerenuk, Steenbok, and Sable Antelope Babies.

See video of Sandy feeding Kiburi.