YULEE, Fla. (AP) — Four cheetah cubs are beginning to explore their habitat at a wildlife refuge in northwest Florida.
The two female and two male cubs were born Oct. 6 at White Oak Conservation in Yulee, north of Jacksonville.
The center’s owner Mark Walter tells the Florida Times-Union their birth is a conservation victory for a species that is vulnerable to extinction.
He says the cubs' mother is Oronsay, who came to White Oak from Busch Gardens. Their father is Wookie, who was born at White Oak.
Brandon Speeg, the director of conservation at the center, says the cubs may stay with their mother until they are 2 ½ years old. They will not be released into the wild. Instead they’ll remain as part of the North American insurance population of the species.
There have now been 187 cubs representing 52 litters born at White Oak since 1985. White Oak is one of the largest breeding centers for cheetahs in the U.S.