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The best animal photos of May 2012

By: Catie Leary on May 30, 2012, 5:36 p.m.
Two newborn cheetah cubs.

Photo: Adrienne Crosier/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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Cheetah cub drama

A pair of 2-day-old cheetah cubs are examined by a veterinarian on April 25 at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Front Royal, Va.

The two bundles of furry joy endured a rocky start. Ally, a 5-year-old first-time mother, gave birth to the first cub, a male, on April 23, but abandoned him. Ally's contractions ceased suddenly a few hours later, prompting a decision by veterinarians to anesthetize her to check if she had additional cubs. After determining that there were three more cubs remaining inside her, the vet team performed an emergency Cesarean section and attempted to resuscitate the three cubs. Only one of the three cubs, a female, survived.

A month later, the two cubs and their mother are recovering well, though keepers continue to monitor the family carefully.