Soon the zoo had a problem on its hands. It was too soon to reintroduce Kumbali to his family, as he might look to them like a threat. But cheetahs are social animals, and zoo staff realized he needed a buddy.
Enter Kago, a cheerful lab puppy that Metro Richmond Zoo rescued from a local high-kill shelter. As evident in the video above, their very first meeting was a tiny bit tenuous, with Kumbali taking a light cuff or two at Kago, who was too curious and happy to be deterred.
Before long, though, the two became best friends. The zoo reports the pair behave as though they are the same species, despite their obvious differences. The only tough part is feeding both young animals, which have completely different diets. But the situation seems to be under control.
In the near term, the unlikely buddies will remain together. Future plans remain up in the air, but zoo staff says whatever is best for Kumbali will be the determining factor. If that means he and Kago live out their lives together, so be it.