“After a long day of play it is time to snuggle”. And it is time to cuddle up together and for this young cheetah whose name is Kris to give her companion, Remus, a thorough wash. It is a wash imbued with tender love and gratitude for the companionship that she has.
They are at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Remus is a handsome rescue dog and they were put together to help Kris, who was abandoned by her mother, to adapt to zoo life. Remus is a ‘surrogate sibling’. Cincinnati Zoo call it their Cat Ambassador Program.
At their first meeting the cheetah cub was understandably a little nervous but inquisitive and courageous as she goes forward after initially backing off (see video below). Remus is a bit too boisterous for her at that time but they became inseparable.
Kris is the only cub of her litter to survive. She was born in July 2019 (source: Newsweek.com). The zoo decided to hand-rear her and pair her with Remus.
Remus was selected as a companion for his outgoing and playful personality. Apparently when Kris, the cheetah, is grown up at around 2 years of age she’ll disconnect from her dog companion and Remus will ‘go home with someone in the Cincinnati Zoo’s staff’.
I find this a bit strange. I don’t think they should be separated, ever. Perhaps I am being far too sentimental but I can see the relationship enduring for the lives of them both. There may be practical reasons why they will be separated when Kris is an adult. I wouldn’t like to see it or at least I’d make sure they could get together regularly.
PLEASE NOTE: that on smartphones these Facebook videos sometimes leave a lot space below the video which look awful but try and ignore it. It is just FB screwing up with the embed code.
The zoo presents a wonderful image of harmony and good management and I am sure it is well managed. Not wishing to be a wet blanket, personally, I dislike zoos. Actually my feelings are stronger than that about zoos because they are advertisement of human failure in their relationship with nature. In a better world there’d be no zoos and there would be less people. All cheetahs and all other wild species would be in their natural habitat. They’d have the space to live naturally and they’d be left alone unmolested and unpersecuted by homo sapiens.
That should be the goal but it will never happen and it can no longer happen because there are too many people. The backstory to this charming video is probably not so cute. In general, wild cat species don’t do well at zoos. It is too stressful for them as it is bound to be confined to cages and enclosures when their bodies demand many square miles of wide open grassland in the case of cheetahs. Do we see the stress? No, we don’t really but it comes out in an inability to breed and so on.
The zoo says that Kris was abandoned by her mother. I don’t know if this means Kris was born at the zoo or in the wild and imported to the zoo. For the time being I guess we should be happy that she is happy and that she has a fine friend to keep her company and calm.
In the video below from Facebook the couple are seen playing outside in a large supervised enclosure:
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