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Cheetah Cub Trio Born at White Oak

Cheetah 1

On November 26 a cheetah female at White Oak, a 7,400 acre Florida conservation center, gave birth to three healthy cubs.  The cubs, a female and two males, are being cared for by their mother, Sweeney, a four-year-old cheetah who was also born at White Oak. 

Sweeney had not gained much weight during her pregnancy, so keepers were surprised when she delivered three cubs.  Despite being a first-time mother, Sweeney is expertly nurturing her three babies.  For a first- hand account of the cubs’ birth, check out White Oak’s keeper blog.

Cheetah 2

Cheetah 3


White Oak is one of the most successful cheetah breeding centers in the world, and these cubs mark the facility’s 145th, 146th, and 147th cheetah cubs. 

“Breeding cheetahs is very challenging and with only a small portion of the population reproducing, and it’s very exciting when we have cubs from a first time dam or sire, as this helps keep the population genetically healthy,” says White Oak cheetah expert Karen Meeks. “I’m very happy to see a first time mother so relaxed and content caring for her cubs.”  

The three new cheetah cubs will stay with their mother until they are about one year old.  The cubs will then be separated for placement in zoos and breeding centers, mimicking the natural dispersal process of cubs leaving their mother at that age. 

White Oak works with the Cheetah Species Survival Plan (SSP) and partners at the Conservation Center for Species Survival (C2S2) to sustain a healthy captive cheetah population.

The C2S2 consortium is comprised of five organizations, including White Oak, that collectively manage more than 25,000 acres devoted to endangered species study, management and recovery.  Together the C2S2 partners house over 80 cheetahs and account for a majority of the cubs born in North America each year.  Historically, the cheetah has low reproductive success in captivity, but the space, facilities, and expertise at White Oak and its C2S2 partners have resulted in increased success.

White Oak conserves and sustains some of the earth’s rarest wild animals through innovative training, research, education, and breeding programs that contribute to the survival of wildlife in nature.  The 7,400 acre facility is home to imperiled species from around the world including rhinos, cheetahs, and the elusive okapi. 

Photo Credit:  Brandon Speeg/White Oak