Solo the cheetah cub at National Zoo now on public display
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Solo the cheetah cub at National Zoo now on public display

His name may be Solo but you'll never find this cheetah cub alone.

The seven-month-old cub, hand-reared by National Zoo & Aquarium zookeepers since he was just 19 days old, has been moved to his new home with his best friend, Zama, a border collie/Belgian malinois cross.

Solo was the product of a rare single-cub birth. He has been hand-reared by keepers since he was 19 days old.

Solo was the product of a rare single-cub birth. He has been hand-reared by keepers since he was 19 days old.Credit:Jamila Toderas

Zookeeper Kyle Macdonald said the pair, that had been reared in an enclosure at the back of the zoo, had "graduated" to their "big on-display" enclosure.

"They were previously being hand reared up in an enclosure that was adjusted to our veterinary facility which made sure Solo was getting the best in terms of rearing," Mr Macdonald said.

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"Now that they're both a little bit older and more mature they're able to be moved to the new enclosure for public display."

Solo and Zama's unlikely friendship initially turned some heads when they were unveiled at the Canberra Zoo in March.

Solo and Zama's unlikely friendship initially turned some heads when they were unveiled at the Canberra Zoo earlier this year.

Solo and Zama's unlikely friendship initially turned some heads when they were unveiled at the Canberra Zoo earlier this year. Credit:Jamila Toderas

"Solo was born as a singleton which means the only one in the litter. It's quite rare - less than 10 per cent of cheetah cubs will be born as a single in the litter," Mr Macdonald said.

"The idea of introducing Zama to Solo was that he could grow up with a sibling so that he could do all the normal thing that all the baby animal would do: run around and play and jump on each other."

The unlikely pair were brought together when they were about a month old and have been inseparable since.

"Their relationship has just grown into a really close sibling bond so they hang out together 24/7, curl up and cuddle up at night together and we take them out for walks and everything so they don't know that there's anything strange about the relationship and it's a really nice thing for both of them to have that companionship."

The unlikely pair, Solo and Zama, were brought together when they were about a month old and have been inseparable since.

The unlikely pair, Solo and Zama, were brought together when they were about a month old and have been inseparable since.Credit:Jamila Toderas

Mr Macdonald said Solo would be continuing his work as an ambassador cheetah from this new enclosure, participating in encounters and raising awareness for the plight of his species. It is estimated that about 7000 cheetahs are in the wild.

"Solo is incredibly relaxed which is really amazing for a cheetah his age, they're genuinely quite a nervous animal so for him to be so comfortable at this age really is a testament to the relationship he has with Zama," he said.

"He pulls a lot of confidence from her and when we bring stranges that he's never met into the enclosure, instead of being nervous he'll look to Zama and will take that calmness from her."

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.