Just when the Cheetah cub was having a hard time surviving, some kind-hearted humans and a brave shelter puppy came to his rescue.
Meet Kumbali and Kao, two very unique friends. Kumbali the Cheetah was the runt of his litter and wasn’t getting enough milk from his mother to survive, so the staff at the Richmond Zoo decided to nurse him themselves. But they also knew the youngster needed a companion. Cheetahs are very sociable big cats and need company to thrive and not become anxious. The zoo found Kago, a lab mix who was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Alabama.
Cheetahs and dogs have been paired up together for nearly 30 years after zoos and sanctuaries discovered how beneficial it is for the cheetahs. The cheetah has a friend and companion to lean on in unfamiliar situations and has someone to socialize with. As you’ll see in the video below, Kumbali and Kago are now inseparable best friends!
Kumbali and Kago, Cheetah Cub and Puppy Friendship
Kumbali is the son of Khari and Hatari. When he was two weeks old, animal caretakers at the Richmond Zoo noticed that he wasn’t gaining weight. In fact, he was losing weight, making him the runt of his litter. We removed the cub to bottle-raise him, with the hope of being able to boost his weight, and then eventually reintroduce him to his family.
However, we discovered that his mom, Khari, was not producing enough milk for her three cubs. Only 2 of her 8 nipples were functioning, so zoo staff decided to keep hand-raising the cub to ensure his health and growth. We instantly fell in love with him. And we needed to find the perfect name. We searched for hours and hours, scouring our resources, in search of his name. We narrowed our list of names, one by one.
Kumbali. It just had a ring to it that we couldn’t ignore. Kumbali has steadily gained weight since we had to pull him. His motor skills have improved, and he loves to jump, run, lick, and play. Despite his young age, he has already demonstrated incredibly quick speeds.
When he was smaller, similar to a house cat, he liked to to use his caretakers like a piece of furniture. When he got tired, he would sprawl out on top of them until he found the most comfortable position for sleeping. We knew he was content when he made his loud purring noise.