When Ruuxa was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, zookeepers noticed that his front legs had an unusual shape. After veterinary experts checked his x-rays, they discovered that he had a rare genetic condition that affects the growth of his front legs. They were bowed in an abnormal way.
Veterinarians intervened with a surgery that would help his legs grow into a more natural cheetah shape. Vets and the zookeepers were concerned that they would have to separate Ruuxa and Raina for a few weeks. Since this was an unusual case, they weren't sure if the young cheetah would want to walk, or if the young pup would be too rough with Ruuxa's casts. But, there was no separating these two! They were apart for only 15 minutes, then vets realized that they had nothing to fear.
The puppy was so gentle and cautious of the casts on her brother's legs and having her there stimulated his recovery, making him more comfortable. To everyone's surprise Ruuxa the cheetah recovered quickly and soon he was playing rough and wild with his sister. The two were bonded from such a young age, with the hopes that they would bond like siblings. It worked so well, they are the most closely bonded pair at the zoo!
Now, Ruuxa runs a speedy 70-75 mph - a speed they thought they would never see him achieve! All thanks to the love of his caretakers and the close bond he has with Raina.
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