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It’s not likely you’ll find a more adorable pair of unlikely best buddies than Raina, a 7-week old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy and Ruuxa, a 6-week old cheetah cub!
According to the San Diego Zoo‘s blog, Ruuxa, after being rejected by her mother and hand-raised by zookeepers, was chosen to be raised as an animal ambassador at the Safari Park. Cheetahs are normally born in litters of 3 to 5 cubs, but Ruuxa was born alone. When a single cub is born, they are commonly rejected by their mothers, as survival of a single cub is unlikely.
“Because the cheetah was by himself and did not have any siblings we wanted him to have a companion immediately,” animal training manager Susie Ekard said. “They definitely like to play, and when they take naps together, they often will snuggle up together for that warmth and closeness.”
The zoo pairs cheetahs like Ruuxa with canine companions for a reason. As they grow up together, the dog will communicate to the cheetah that there is nothing to be afraid of, especially in a public zoo setting. The bond they share keeps the cheetah calm and content. San Diego Zoo currently houses 4 such pairs.
The pair will be lifelong companions – and by the looks of it, they’re already off to a great start!