How a Cheetah Cub and Puppy Became Best of Friends
Meet Kumbali (cheetah) and Kago (lab mix), best of friends that came together under extraordinary circumstances. This is their story.
Kumbali is the son of Khari and Hatari. When he was two weeks old, animal caretakers at the Metro Richmond Zoo noticed that he was not only not gaining weight but was in fact, losing weight, making him the runt of his litter.
Caretakers soon discovered that his mom, Khari, was not producing enough milk for her cubs and only 2 of her 8 nipples were producing milk. It was then that the zoo staff decided to hand raise the cub, bottle feeding him to ensure he would grow up to be big and healthy. [source]
Male cheetahs are social animals and Kumbali was no different. Separated from his family, he needed companionship and Kago, a lab mix puppy, rescued from a kill shelter in Alabama was the perfect match.
The idea of using dogs as companion animals to cheetahs was first pioneered by the San Diego Zoo over 30 years ago and the concept has been adopted by other zoos around the world ever since. Although the relationship would never occur in the wild, dogs have been shown to have a calming influence to cheetahs in captivity. [source]
Watch the Amazing Video Below
to Learn About Kumbali and Kago
In the short term, Kumbali and Kago will continue to strengthen their bond. If the caretakers believe Kumbali can be safely reintroduced to his family they will try. If that were to happen the zoo’s director would adopt Kago into his personal home. It’s also possible that the two live out their lives together, only time will tell.
For more information on Kumbali and Kago visit the Metro Richmond Zoo.