Last May, Parc Safari, in Hemmingford, Que., welcomed the arrival of two adorable cheetah cubs, Mosi and Jelanie — whose names in Swahili mean first-born and powerful, respectively.
According to Parc Safari’s zoological director Nathalie Santerre, it is a first in Quebec.
Cheetahs are difficult to breed in captivity, Santerre said, adding that only 16 per cent of those living in captivity actually breed.
The two male cubs were delivered via emergency C-section on May 13, after their mother Akeelah suffered complications during pregnancy.
IN PHOTOS: Mosi and Jelanie
In a video posted to Facebook, Santerre said that on the 79th day, Akeelah aborted one of her cubs, explaining that it wasn’t uncommon in felines.
“They can abort one of their young but still bring the rest of the litter to term,” she said.
Santerre said they only started worrying three days later, when she miscarried a second time and her overall health started to deteriorate.
“That’s when we decided to do a C-section,” she said. “For the welfare of the mother and to see if the remaining babies were still alive.”
Usually, the gestation period for cheetahs is between 90 to 95 days, but Mosi and Jelanie were born seven days premature.
WATCH BELOW: What’s new at Parc Safari
While Akeelah is doing well and is back in her enclosure, Santerre has had to take on a new role at the zoo.
She is adoptive mom to both Mosi and Jelanie, because despite seeing her babies regularly, Akeelah doesn’t recognize them as her own, Santerre said.
“She doesn’t recognize her babies and is very aggressive towards them,” Santerre said, adding that most carnivores will reject their young if they are unaware they birthed them — as is the case with Akeelah.
Although she may not recognize her brood, Santerre said the brothers take after their mother.
“The babies get their strong personality from her,” she said.
Other babies born at the zoo this year include a scimitar-horned oryx, a nilgai, three waterbucks, a greater kudu, a watusi, a water buffalo,three bisons, three common elands and a zebra.
Members of the public hoping to get a peek at Mosi and Jelanie at the zoo won’t be able to do so until September.
In the meantime though, Parc Safari promises to continue posting updates on their progress on its Facebook page.