CINCINNATI — An Ohio zoo has enlisted its beloved nursery dog to care for the lone survivor from a litter of three cheetah cubs.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Blakely, a male Australian Shepherd, is serving as a surrogate parent for Kris, born to a first-time mother July 7 at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s cheetah breeding facility.
Zoo officials say caretakers stepped in because a single cub doesn’t provide enough stimulation for a cheetah mother to produce an adequate milk supply. They say baby animals, however, need more than nutrition and medical care.
The zoo’s Dawn Strasser says Blakely will teach Kris animal etiquette and handle social responsibilities like snuggling, playing and disciplining.
Blakely has previously helped care for Malayan tiger cubs, cheetahs, bat-eared foxes, an aardvark, a warthog and wallabies.