Video: Kago the dog becomes cheetah's best friend

Kumbali and Kago have become inseparable (Metro Richmond Zoo)
Kumbali and Kago have become inseparable (Metro Richmond Zoo)

Kumbali the cheetah cub is getting by with a little help from his puppy friend, which has been getting him used to socialising.

The runt of his litter, Kumbali's mum wasn't producing enough milk for her three cubs so keepers at the Metro Richmond Zoo in the US state of Virginia decided to hand-raise the cub.

Now that he's gained weight, Kumbali is more active – running, jumping and playing – but still can't be reintroduced to his family.

And because cheetahs are social animals, he needed a non-human friend to play and socialise with.

Enter rescue puppy Kago.

The pair were introduced and after a little cautiousness at the start, man's best friend has become cheetah's best friend too.

Zookeepers say they don't think the animals even recognise they're completely different species, size or colour.

Kumbali and Kago have since become inseparable, except for the brief times they're forced apart at feeding times because of their very different diets.

The zoo says in the short term, the pair's friendship will strengthen the bond between them and in the future Kumbali could become an ambassador for his species.

If that's the case, the pair will stay together. But if it is thought it's best for Kumbali to be with his family, he will be reintroduced to them while Kago will live with the zoo director's family.

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