PICTURES: 5 cheetah cubs born at Metro Richmond Zoo

Posted on: 6:29 am, October 21, 2013, by , updated on: 08:09am, October 21, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Five cheetah cubs were born earlier this month at the  Metro Richmond Zoo. The zoo announced the births and released some photos of the cubs Monday.

“The cubs, 3 males and 2 females, were born to Lana, a 4 year old first-time mom, and Kitu, a 5 year old first-time dad, at the zoo’s new cheetah breeding center,” zoo keeper Jim Andelin wrote in an email. “Despite being a first-time mom, Lana has shown excellent mothering skills and the cubs are growing rapidly under her care.”

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Andelin called the births significant because cheetahs are endangered and their numbers “in the wild” are in drastic decline. He said there are only 10,000 wild cheetahs, mostly in Africa.

“Breeding cheetahs in captivity is very challenging with a very small portion of the population reproducing,” he said. “This birth is very significant, as it represents only the third litter born in the U.S. this year and the first ever for the Metro Richmond Zoo.”

So far, the cheetahs have not yet been named. If you can a suggestion, email it to us or leave it as a comment on the CBS 6 Facebook page.