Dallas Zoo will raise cheetah cubs with special friend — a Labrador puppy

Two cheetah cubs, Winspear (L) and Kamau, are pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the Dallas Zoo, in Dallas, Texas, received by Reuters... HANDOUT / Reuters
Cheetah cubs Winspear (left) and Kamau recently arrived at their new home in Dallas, Texas.

The Dallas Zoo will raise a pair of cheetah cubs with a Labrador retriever puppy, believing the dog will be a calming influence on the big cats as they grow to adulthood.

The 8-week-old male cheetahs Winspear and Kamau have arrived in Dallas, the zoo said, after a team of experts spent two weeks with them at their birthplace, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.

They will be raised alongside an 8-week-old black Labrador retriever puppy named Amani, the zoo said in a statement on Thursday.

This undated photo provided by the Dallas Zoological Society shows a black Labrador retriever puppy named Amani.  Zoo officials have given Amani to tw... Uncredited / AP
Black Labrador retriever Amani will help the cheetah cubs settle in at the Dallas Zoological Society.

"Zoological experts have found that because dogs are naturally comfortable in public settings, Amani will provide a calming influence for the cubs, as well as another playmate as they grow to adulthood," the statement said.

Cheetahs are endangered with an estimated 10,000 in existence, the zoo said. In the wild, adult cheetahs are the world's fastest land animals reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, according to National Geographic.

Now weighing about 8 and 6 pounds, the cheetahs are expected to grow to about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 140 pounds, the zoo said.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Orphaned otter becomes friends with orphaned kittens at the Secret World Rescue in Somerset, Britain - 07 Aug 2011

    Unlikely friends

    An otter and a kitten, a kangaroo and wombat and a monkey and a rabbit — just a few best buddy pairs that make some very odd couples.

  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Foes now friends -

    A wolf and a goat have unimaginably become friends in Xinjiang, China. Their paths crossed when the wolf was a newborn and the goat, who had recently had babies, had milk to share. Now the wolf is 3 years old and the two are inseperable.
    Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Opposites attract -

    A lonley, 4-month-old piglet was given to the St Francis Animal Welfare Shelter in Fair Oak, England by a family who could no longer care for her. Since then, the pint-sized Coco has become firm friends with German Shepherd Jay. The piglet is convinced she is a dog, and walks on a leash, fetches sticks and guards the other dogs. "Jay has taken her under her paw so to say and protects her when they run around together in the field," said center manager Sueltan Day.
    Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Pony and pup -

    Poppy, a rescued Shetland Pony, and Tilly, a 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier, have become best friends at their home in Beechworth, Australia.
    Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Adopted otter -

    When 6 weeks old, this baby otter was an orphan after the suspected death of his mother. The Secret World Rescue in Somserset, England, introduced the otter to a family of four orphaned kittens also being cared for at the center. Now the group has become the best of friends.
    Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Play pals -

    This 11-week-old ocelot kitten, Santos, and his furry dog companion, Blakely, became best friends at Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. Santos was born at the end of last year but has been moved to Cincinnati's nursery after his mother didn't produce enough milk. Blakely resides in the Cincinnati Zoo's nursery and is a companion dog to a wide variety of baby animals that come into the nursery for various reasons. The zoo says they spend time together almost every day by burning off energy during the cold winter months.
    Cassandre Crawford / Cincinnati Zoo via Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Lions, tigers and monkey, oh my! -

    A baby monkey, tiger and lion play together at a zoo in Shenyang, China on May 1, 2013.
    Zhang Wenkui / ZUMAPRESS.com
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Duckling, kookaburra -

    A duckling and 6-week-old Kookaburra, nicknamed Kookie, have developed an unusual bond after both being orphaned at birth. Kookie had to be saved by staff at the Seaview Wildlife Encounter after his parents killed their other two offspring. The rare 2-day-old duckling was rescued from one of the park's aviaries because he was too small to defend himself against larger birds.
    Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Kangaroo and wombat -

    At just over 5 months old, Anzac the kangaroo was brought to the Wild About Wildlife Kilmore Rescue Centre in Victoria, Australia after being rescued in the Macedon Ranges. Missing his mom, Anzac was placed with wombat Peggy and the two now sleep together.
    Rob Leeson / Newspix via Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Piggy back -

    Xena, the mini pig, and Jazz, the quaker parrot, are unlikely best of friends from Brisbane, Australia. According to their owner, the two are like brother and sister.
    Jamie Hanson / Rex USA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Pup and pig -

    After being rescued by Wendy Valentine, who runs Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, UK, Tabitha, a piglet, forged an unlikely alliance with Susie, a rescue dog, at the shelther. They've been inseparable ever since.
    Maurice Gray / Caters News Agency
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Childhood pals -

    When Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. took in a cheetah cub that had been neglected by its mother, the park’s animal care team became inspired and paired the 8-week-old cat with a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador. A little over a year later, the two animals are the best of friends. They spend lots of supervised play time together and help the Busch Gardens’ education team teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild.
    Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Wild match -

    Peanut, a skunk, was introduced to two lion cubs, Annabelle and Lester, after Peanut was found orphaned in Northern Ontario, Canada.
    Don Johnston / Caters News Agency
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Unsizeable duo -

    This huge gorilla, named Fran and a tiny duckling became unlikely friends after the bird escaped into the ape's zoo enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, in N.Y.
    Tom Warren / Solent News & Photo Agency
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Dog and deer -

    A dog named Shura licks an orphaned roe deer in the Simferopol zoo in Crimea. The deer was found close to its dead mother in a local forest.
    Reuters
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Dynamic duo -

    Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe, a bluetick coonhound, became friends at a South Carolina preserve. Now they swim together, play together and Suryia even takes the dog for his walks.
    Courtesy of Suryiaandroscoe.com
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Boar and bull -

    A young boar named Freddy looks for food as it stands beside Mario, a bull, in Ebergoetzen, Germany. Apparently separated from his pack, the young boar showed up among the herd of cattle about 6 weeks earlier and is fed from time to time by a cow.
    Stefan Simonsen / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Favored friends -

    A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania resident reports that her cat has struck up a special friendship with the neighboring wildlife, according to Lovemeow.com. Every morning, a local deer visits the cat, who reciprocates by grooming the much larger animal. The deer expresses its affection by licking the friendly feline.
    Courtesy of LoveMeow.com
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Snuggle buds -

    Female dachshund Bessi lays in a basket with a 5-day-old baby tiger on May 20, 2013, at the wild animal park in Stroehen, Germany.
    Philipp Guelland / AFP - Getty Images
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Napping pal -

    A black cat approaches a resting dog in Middlefield, Ohio, and then makes herself quite comfortable with her newfound friend. Family members said that the dog belonged to a neighbor, and the feline was one of their many barn cats.
    Amy Sancetta / ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Doggy practice -

    At the Wildlives Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre in Thorrington, Colchester, UK, Prudence the piglet thinks she is a dog.
    Andy Abbott / Zuma Press
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Cage cuddles -

    Laith, a lion, licks Dima, a tigress, in their cage at Ghamadan Zoo near Amman, Jordan.
    Ali Jarekji / REUTERS
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Doggy walk -

    Owner Steph Tuft, 25, takes duck Essy for a walk with her Staffordshire cross dogs Rachka and DD in Bournemouth, England. Essy, a 9-month-old Cherry Valley duck, thinks she is a dog and likes to walk with the other two pets.
    Chris Ison / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Adopted puppies -

    Smaigel the cat nurses her kittens and four puppies at her owner house in Amman, Jordan. Smaigel is parenting the puppies, whose mother died in a car accident.
    Muhammad Hamed / REUTERS
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Sheepy pals -

    At the Shamwari Game Reserve, a baby elephant and sheep have become the best of pals. Eight-month-old orphan Themba the elephant struck up a friendship with wooly Albert after arriving at the reserve's animal hospital when he was just 6 months old. Themba's mum had fallen off a cliff and died at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, where Themba was born.
    Caters News / Zuma Press
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Thailand trio -

    Tiger cubs sit in their feeding pen with a sow pig, who has become their surrogate mother, at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand.
    Barbara Walton / EPA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Healing friends -

    BoonLua, a long-tailed macaque, lives with Toby, a rabbit, in Thailand. BoonLua lost both its legs and one arm during an attack by dogs three years ago. It dragged itself to a nearby temple where it received medical treatment and survived. He now lives in a custom built enclosure with the rabbit.
    Sukree Sukplang / REUTERS
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Cute companions -

    Three-month-old tiger cub, Zoya, plays with Alsatian puppy Frida, in a special enclosure at the Warsaw Zoo in Poland. The dog is owned by a zoo employee and was introduced to the tiger so that she could have a companion for the next few months.
    Alik Keplicz / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Rhino ride -

    A small rabbit jumped onto the back of its neighboring big hippo to cool off itself as the temperature keeps rising in east China.
    Jiang Yongbing / ZUMA Press
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Puppy love -

    A female monkey clutches a pup as another monkey approaches in Jammu, India. The monkey lost her child and has adopted the pup, according to locals.
    Channi Anand / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Unbreakable bond -

    A female dog cuddles with a young elk, which was rescued from a flooding river by a farmer in South Korea. The dog breastfeeds and guards the elk.
    Inje Municipal Government / EPA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Little rascals -

    Five-week-old young boar, Manni, enjoys playing with Jack Russell terrier, Candy, in Ehringhausen, Germany.
    Sascha Schuermann / AFP - Getty Images
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Happy family -

    A tiger yawns as a pig stretches upon waking at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand. The zoo promotes unusual groups, called Happy Families, of mixed species such as tigers, pigs and dogs.
    Barbara Walton / EPA
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Lots of love -

    Bea, a 3-year-old giraffe, and Wilma, an ostrich, share a moment at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Fla. Recently, zookeepers at Busch Gardens noticed the unlikely pair that just can't seem to get enough of one another.
    Matt Marriott / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Tortoise and the hippo -

    A baby hippo named Owen walks along with its "mother," a giant male Aldabran tortoise, at the Mombasa Haller Park in Mombasa, Kenya .The odd couple stayed together after the Asian tsumani reached the Kenyan shore and separated the young hippo from its mother.
    Anonymous / AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Peas in a pod -

    A white dog nurses two red panda cubs in the zoo in Taiyuan in north China's Shanxi province. The two red panda cubs were abandoned by their mother at birth, and are now thriving at a northern China zoo, thanks to care from the dog
    AP
  • Unlikely friends

    of

    Three is company -

    A wild boar piglet named Schnitzel shares a bottle of milk with a Jack Russel terrier, Doro, and a ridgeback, Lilli, in Wiblingwerde, Germany. Schnitzel was left behind when farmer Heiko Cordt tried to chase away a herd of wild boars out of a friend's garden. Cordt now raises the piglet with his five dogs.
    Philipp Guelland / AFP - Getty Images
TOP