Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

This Remarkable Dog Became A Dad To A Litter Of Orphaned Cheetah Cubs

An Australian shepherd has been cuddling with a litter of cheetah babies after their mother died weeks after giving birth through a rare cesarian section at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Posted on March 22, 2016, at 10:41 p.m. ET

A dog is helping to care for a litter of baby orphaned cheetahs at an Ohio zoo and his first assignment was to let them crawl all over him.

Cincinnati Zoo / Via Twitter: @CincinnatiZoo

An Australian shepherd named Blakely is supporting the cubs after their mother, Willow, died a few weeks ago following their birth through a rare cesarian section on March 8.

Cincinnati Zoo / Via Twitter: @CincinnatiZoo

Vets at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden said they hoped the 5-year-old cheetah would recover from the birth, but she became lethargic and lost her appetite.

They added that "without the C-section, we likely would have lost both the mom and the cubs." Cheetahs are endangered, and there are about 12,000 in the world today.

Zookeepers said that as soon as Blakely met the baby cheetahs he took on a parental role.

"His first job is to let the cubs climb on him, which they did as soon as they were put together," said head nursery keeper Dawn Strasse. "They need the exercise to build muscle tone."

As the cubs grow, their dog dad will serve as a guide and role model.

The cubs are now gaining weight and getting stronger, the zoo said.

Cincinnati Zoo / Via AP

Watch the cubs cuddling with their adopted dog dad:

View this video on YouTube