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Cheetah cub litter welcomed at Virginia zoo

Five cheetah cubs, born on Oct. 6, are shown in this October 2013 photo posted on the Metro Richmond, Virginia Zoo's Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/metrorichmondzoo)

October 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A zoo in Richmond, Va. welcomed some cuddly new family members when five cheetah cubs were born there.

Protective new mom, Lana, is keeping a careful watch over her three male and two female cubs. She is upholding her motherly duties, carefully tending to her cubs.

The cubs were born to Lana, 4, and Kitu, 5, at the Metro Richmond, Virginia Zoo's cheetah breeding center Oct. 6.

It's the first litter born at the zoo and only the third in the United States this year.

The zoo says the cubs are doing well and have grown quickly in the past two weeks.

The wild cheetah population is in drastic decline, and the animals have been classified as endangered.

The cheetah, the world's fastest land mammal, has one of the slowest growth rates in captivity. Experts say breeding cheetahs in captivity is very challenging with a very small portion of the population reproducing.

ABC News contributed to this report.