When Kumbali was 2 weeks old, caretakers at Virginia’s Metro Richmond Zoo noticed that the cub was losing weight, so they removed him from his litter to bottle-raise him.
Under the zookeepers’ care, Kumbali flourished, and soon the young cub was in need of a companion. He couldn’t be returned to his family, who would likely consider him a threat, so the zoo adopted a shelter puppy and named him Kago.
The two were slowly introduced, and now Kumbali and Kago are inseparable.
Introducing cheetahs to shelter dogs is a fairly common practice in zoos. In fact, the San Diego Zoo has been pairing the endangered cats with canine companions since the 1980s.