Endangered Asiatic cheetah birthed 3 healthy cubs in Iran
This marks the first birth of an Asiatic cheetah in captivity.
According to the head of the environment department, an Asiatic cheetah gave birth to 3 "healthy" cubs in Iran - the first time in captivity for the endangered species.
The mother cheetah, whose name is "Iran," is one of only a dozen cheetahs in the country. Iran gave birth to 3 cubs by C-section, according to Ali Salajegheh to IRNA news agency.
"This is the first birth of an Asiatic cheetah in captivity," he said.
"By preserving these cubs, we can increase the cheetah population in captivity and then in semi-captivity," Salajegheh added.
The baby cheetahs were born in Touran Wildlife Refuge, Semnan province, Tehran. The mother and the cubs are under close monitoring in intensive care.
Iran is one of the last countries in the world that has Asiatic cheetahs living in the wild. In 2001, Iran began a UN-backed protection programme to conserve the species.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the "Acinonyx jubatus venaticus", a subspecies of cheetahs, commonly known as the Asiatic cheetah, is critically endangered.
Hassan Akbari, the deputy environment minister, said Iran is home to only a dozen Asiatic cheetahs.