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We all know how important our BFFs are — and it turns out this is just as true for animals as it is for people. Even when the animals are completely different species.
Ruuxa, a 6-week-old cheetah cub, and Raina, a 7-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, just met — and they’re already the best of friends. And we love seeing them together just as much as they love each other!
This dynamic duo is being raised together at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where Raina will be Ruuxa’s lifelong companion.
Ruuxa is being hand-reared by his keepers because he was rejected by his mom; when he's a little older, he will become a Safari Park ambassador. All of the park’s cheetah ambassadors are paired with a canine companion early in life. As they grow up together, the cheetah learns to take cues from the dog’s body language. When the cheetah sees that his doggy pal is relaxed in new or public surroundings, it puts the cheetah at ease.
Check out how adorable they are together, and see more of the cutest zoo babies of the year in the gallery below.
Amanda Watters, Sacramento Zoo
Three lion cubs were born to a first-time mom at the Sacramento Zoo on Oct. 24.
A male Southern white rhino was born at The Wilds in Ohio on Nov. 12 to mom Anan and dad Fireball. He's the first of a fifth generation of white rhinos to be born outside of Africa.
Point Defiance Zoo
A trio of female critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs was born at the Point Defiance Zoo in Washington state on Oct. 8.
Woodland Park Zoo
Three male African lion cubs were born at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on Oct. 24.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Nimbus, a clouded leopard cub, is being hand reared after being rejected
by her mom at the Cotswold Wildlife Park in the U.K. in October.
Three Asian short-clawed otter cubs were born in September at the Newquay Zoo in the U.K.
Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Dad Izu met his four young cubs for the first time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in October. The cubs were born to mom Oshana on June 22.
Marianne Hale, San Francisco Zoo
Four fluffy white Chilean flamingo chicks hatched in late August and early September at the San Francisco Zoo.
Olivia, who's been nicknamed "Michelin Man" by her keepers, is a baby pygmy hippo who was born on August 2 at Sweden's Parken Zoo.
Red panda twins — a boy and a girl — were born June 27 at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to first-time mom Nima and dad Jung. Keepers first knew they'd arrived when they heard little squeaks coming from inside their nesting box.
Oklahoma City Zoo
A western lowland gorilla was born August 16 at the Oklahoma City Zoo to mom Ndjole and dad Togo. She is being hand-reared by the animal care team there after her mom showed little interest in taking care of her.
Twin Alaotran gentle lemurs were born at the U.K.'s Bristol Zoo in July to dad Mr. Grey (named for Christian Grey of the book 50 Shades of Grey) and his partner Mrs. Grey. The species is critically endangered.
A mountain lion cub who was found orphaned in Washington State has a new home across the country at ZooAmerica in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Reid Park Zoo
An African elephant was born August 20 to mom Semba at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona. The baby girl weighed 245 pounds at birth.
Stephanie Adams / Houston Zoo
Two clouded leopard cubs were born at the Houston Zoo on June 6. They're the first offspring for mom Suksn and dad Tarak.
Officials at a Chinese zoo were cautiously optimistic about the birth of rare panda triplets in August.
Brazilian tapir Zathras, a boy, was born August 4 at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to mom Jenny.
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Gowan, a Masai giraffe calf, was 6 feet, 6 inches when he was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, officials announced in August.
An endangered Amur tiger cub was born at the Indianapolis Zoo on July 10. It's the first cub for mom Andrea, who's 6 years old. Both mom and cub are doing well.
Tammy Sprat, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Jackson, a male okapi calf, was born to mom Ayana at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on July 6.
Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo
A critically endangered black rhino born on July 12 is the fifth calf for mom Lembe and dad Jambia at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
Kecil, a 6-month-old Bornean orangutan, was born at the Toledo Zoo in January. He's now living at the Brookfield Zoo, where he was introduced to 53-year-old Maggie, an experienced surrogate mom who's bonding with him.
Lincoln Children's Zoo
Liv, a tammar wallaby, is being hand-raised by keepers at Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska after she was found outside her mom's pouch.
Kelly Brown, Buffalo Zoo
An endangered female Indian rhino calf was born to mom Tashi at the Buffalo Zoo on June 5. The calf is the first offspring of Jimmy, a rhino who died at the Cincinnati Zoo 10 years ago. The calf was conceived using Jimmy's frozen sperm.
Two male river otter pups were born to mom Whisker and dad Lucius on April 2 at the Detroit Zoo.
A male Masai giraffe was born to a mother named Harriet at the San Diego Zoo on June 16. The 6-foot-2-inch, 146-pound baby is Harriet's second calf. His dad, Silver, is the herd's sire.
Scarlet, a pudu fawn at Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, has been getting bottles around the clock after her mom died when the fawn was 2 weeks old. Scarlet, who was born in the spring, was reintroduced to her father when she was 4 weeks old and has bonded well with him.
Four critically endangered red wolf pups were born at the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut on May 9. Mom Sally and dad Moose are first-time parents and have been very attentive.
Three black-footed kittens were born to mom Aza at the Philadelphia Zoo on April 8. The litter includes two males, Drogon and Viserion, and a female, Rhaegal.
Ron Magill, Zoo Miami
A male, white-faced saki monkey was born at Zoo Miami on May 30. The monkey, who was rejected by its mother, is being hand-reared by zoo staff.
A male Rothschild's giraffe was born at the Dublin Zoo on May 7 to experienced parents Maeve and Robin. The Rothschild's giraffe is one of the more threatened of the nine giraffe subspecies.
Pi, Rhu and Saya, the Denver Zoo's clouded leopard cubs, are getting to know each other. Saya, a female, was born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia in April and arrived in Denver in May. Pi, a male, and Rhu, a female, were born at the Denver Zoo in March. They're being hand-raised after their inexperienced mom was unable to care for them.
Keepers at Oregon's Wildlife Safari stepped in to save the life of a cheetah cub who was born on May 3 and rejected by his first-time mother, Moyo. The staff had to clean the cub's airway and stimulate him so he could take his first breath. He's taking his bottle and putting on weight.
Baku, an endangered Malayan tapir calf was born to mom Rinny and dad Benny on April 29 at the Denver Zoo.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Keepers at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago are hand-raising a female klipspringer who was born on March 30. When she's fully grown, the tiny dwarf antelope will stand about 20 inches tall.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Two endangered western snowy plovers were found on the beach in April and are being cared for at the Monterey Bay Aquarium until they can be released into the wild.
Secret World Wildlife Rescue
This orphaned badger cub was found in March and is being cared for at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue in the U.K.
Two female clouded leopards were born to mom Serai and dad Rajasi at Zoo Miami on March 13.
Three new Humboldt penguin chicks hatched at the Oregon Zoo in March. They'll stay in their nesting boxes with their parents until they fledge. One is such a good eater that it's been dubbed "Porker."
ZSL London Zoo
Three Sumatran tiger cubs were born to mom Melati at the ZSL London Zoo in February. Two of them are pictured here with their mom as they ventured outside for the first time at 7 weeks old.
Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo
Four Asian small-clawed otter pups were born at the Woodland Park Zoo in January to 4-year-old mom Teratai and 8-year-old dad Guntur. The pups got a clean bill of health in their first hands-on wellness exam.
Ray Meibaum / Saint Louis Zoo
Kapika, a rare Coquerel's sifaka lemur, was born at the St. Louis Zoo in January.
Born at the Oregon Zoo in September 2013, three female lion cubs tried the patience of their dad, Zawadi, when they met him for the first time in March.
Dolores Reed, Smithsonian's National Zoo
During a week in February, three male Dama gazelle calves were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia. The animals are critically endangered, with only 500 remaining in the wild.
An endangered Grevy's zebra foal was born at the U.K.'s Chester Zoo to mom Nadine and dad Mac in February.
Michael Durham, Oregon Zoo
Three cougar cubs orphaned in Oregon in January were nursed back to health at the Oregon Zoo. They'll make their permanent home at the North Carolina Zoo.
Three critically endangered Amur leopard cubs, including one with rare dark fur, were born at the Prague Zoo in late November 2013. Their births were announced in February.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Five fuzzy gray rockhopper penguin chicks hatched at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium during the last week of December 2013. They made their media debut in January.
Karen Abbott, National Zoo
Two African lion cubs were born to mom Naba at the National Zoo in January.
Lowry Park Zoo
Two baby Colobus monkeys were born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo — one in January 22 to mom Whittney and the second to her sister, August, in February. Both are first-time mothers.
A common hippo, born at London's Whipsnade Zoo in December 2013 to mom Lola and dad Hoover, made her first public swim in January.
Named for Russia's Olympic city, Sochi, a rare Amur leopard cub was born at the Denver Zoo in December 2013, but his birth was announced in January.
Two fuzzy gray penguin chicks hatched the first week of the new year at New Jersey's Adventure Aquarium.
A fluffy white seal pup was born to mom Lily at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo on January 1.
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