WINSTON, Ore. -- The Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore., has welcomed two new baby cheetah cubs to the park.
Khayam, a male, and Mchumba, a female, are only 12 days old, and were born on Leap Day.
The cubs have already doubled in size, and are being hand raised after park officials became worried by the behavior of their mother.
Handlers are hoping the brother and sister will grow up to be the park's next ambassador cheetahs. "The ambassador program touches thousands of people every year, we take them to schools," said Carnivore Supervisor, Sarah Roy." Taini, our ambassador now, has been all over the state, all over the state of Washington, so we are pretty excited to keep that up and running."
These are the first cheetah cubs to be born in the U.S. this year, but normally they only have a 50-50 chance of surviving past the first 30 days.
Vets say the newborns are doing great and are being watched around the clock.
The Wildlife Safari has the most successful breeding program in North America for this endangered species.
168 cheetahs have been born at the park since it opened in 1972.