Zoos Are Pairing Nervous Cheetahs With Support Dogs And It’s Adorable https://t.co/dmaALRmpcq
For example, Kumbali is a cheetah cub at the Metro Richmond Zoo, and as a newborn, the cub was losing weight because its mother wasn't producing enough milk to feed her litter. Once Kumbali was cared for and brought back to health, his family rejected him, but the anxious cat, very social by nature, still needed a friend. That's where Kago, a companion dog, came in.
The lab mix puppy, which was given to the zoo by a shelter, and cheetah cub were apprehensive of each other at first, but as they started to feel each other out, they quickly became friends and are now growing up together, happy and healthy. In a post about the animal friends, the zoo notes that while this relationship isn't typically what you'd see in nature, it does more good than harm in this scenario:
This symbiotic relationship would never happen in the wild; however, we believe the positive outcomes outweigh any negative. As the two grow up together, they create a bond that becomes almost inseparable, sibling-like. They provide companionship for each other. The dog has a calming influence because the cheetah will take behavioral cues from the dog– learning not to fear his surroundings, but instead embracing them with confidence. The dog normally becomes the dominant figure in the relationship by becoming the protector and leader. The cheetah will not hurt or kill his friend.