First time mother and King cheetah, Mona Lisa, welcomed a record-tying eight cubs on September 1st giving Labor Day a whole new meaning!!
Cheetahs are already endangered and the King Cheetah is a very special and extraordinarily rare cheetah. Mona Lisa, age 5, is believed to be one of up to 30 King cheetahs remaining in the world! King cheetah occur when two cheetahs possessing the same, extremely rare recessive allele (genetic variant) mate to produce offspring with the genes necessary for their striking coloration. King cheetah have large splotches instead of spots, the field color is sometimes pale or almost white, and there are thick black stripes down the back.
Mona Lisa is the only King Cheetah in North and South America. She has now passed her rare genes on to all eight cubs. All of her cubs are thriving. However, to ensure the safety of the mother and cubs, LEOZCC’s staff is hand rearing three cubs in the nursery: one female and two males.