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CINCINNATI — Five cheetah cubs at the Cincinnati Zoo are receiving critical care after a rare C-section on their 5-year-old mother Willow last week.

The cubs, 3 boys and 2 girls, will continue to receive around the clock care in the zoo’s nursery for the next eight to 12 weeks.

 “The cubs were born under difficult circumstances,” said Dr. Mark Campbell, Director of Animal Health at the Cincinnati Zoo.  “For puppies and kittens the vast majority of their passive immunity comes from their mom’s milk especially the colostrum.  Their immune systems are not developed very well at all at this time so they are unable to actively ward off infections.   We are doing all we can to keep them healthy and strong, but it will be a challenge for these cubs moving forward.”

Visitors may be able to see the cubs through the nursery window, but they will mainly remain behind the scenes for care.