Belfast Telegraph

Cheetah and puppy form friendship

A cheetah cub has formed an unlikely friendship after being rejected by his mother - with an equally playful puppy.

Ruuxa was paired with pup Raina at San Diego Zoo Safari Park when they were both just weeks old, and they soon became the best of buddies.

They have been living at the park's animal care centre, but are now being prepared for their future home behind at the scenes at the attraction's Benbough Amphitheatre.

Larissa Comb, senior animal trainer, said: "We are taking Ruuxa and Raina outside their comfort zone of the animal care centre, doing short training sessions with them several times a day, allowing them to have experiences in a controlled environment.

"Both animals are doing great, progressing very fast, and Ruuxa's confidence is incredible for his age."

Experts say such pairings are usually highly successful, as the dog's body language helps communicate to the cheetah that there is nothing to fear in new or public surroundings, which relaxes and calms the cub.

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