This just in from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Ruuxa and Raina are bonding nicely.
The 7-week old cheetah cub and the 8-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy are spending time together at the park's Animal Care Center. Zookeepers hope they will become boon companions, as other cheetahs and dogs at the park have been.
Ruuxa was abandoned by his mother, a not-uncommon experience when a cheetah mother has only a singleton. Cheetah specialists say the females fear a lone cub will not survive the rigors of the wild.
As dog and cub get closer, the dog's body language will tell the cheetah that there's nothing to fear in his surroundings, which calms the cheetah, zookeepers said.
Cheetahs are listed as a "vulnerable species" in their native Africa. Although the cheetah is considered the fastest-running land animal, they are often preyed upon in the wild by lions and hyenas.
The park has four cheetahs, all trained to participate in the Cheetah Run exhibit.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times