Cheetah cubs at Saint Louis Zoo.

(Roger Brandt, Saint Louis Zoo)

New Saint Louis Zoo Cheetahs to Make Public Debut Friday

We got a look at the 8 cubs who were out exploring their habitat this morning!

May 02, 2018 - 12:13 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The newest residents of the Saint Louis Zoo will be available for the public to see this Friday! Eight cheetah cubs, now 5-months-old, will be roaming River's Edge with their mother. 

But be warned, there is no set viewing schedule, as the cubs will be free to stay indoors in their habitat if they so please. The cubs - also known as the Bingwa Bunch - were outside during a media preview Wednesday morning: 

When they were born in November, it was the first time in history that a cheetah had given birth to eight cheetah cubs at any zoo. The three boys and five girls are the biggest bunch in over 430 documented litters by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Steve Bircher, Curator of Mammals at Saint Louis Zoo, says it's a team effort with other cheetah breeding centers around the globe. As for the eight cubs, they won't be in St. Louis forever. 

"Someday hopefully these kids will then be disbursed to other zoos, they'll be paired with other individuals and they'll continue to contribute to that genetic reserve," Bircher says. 

The mother is 4-year-old Bingwa, which means “champion” in Swahili,  and she continues to be an exemplary mother, according to the cheetah care team.

“She has quickly become adept at caring for her very large litter of cubs — grooming, nursing and caring for them attentively,” Bircher says.

To help protect cheetahs in the wild, the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Center for Conservation of Carnivores in Africa is working with its partners in Tanzania and Namibia to coordinate cheetah conservation efforts, including education, research and other programs to mitigate human-cheetah conflicts.