Vote Now for the Cutest Zoo Baby!

It's springtime and zoos across the U.S. are welcoming a surge of cuddly baby animals. The BT staff has identified the top three most adorable newcomers and now it's up to you to crown the cutest. The winner will be revealed on July 6 at 10 p.m.

The Finalists

  • Kasi the Cheetah

    Birthday: February.
    Hometown Zoo: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida.
    Cuddle Report: Plays well with others. Kasi befriended a Labrador puppy named Mtani, and zookeepers say they’ll be buds for life.

  • Aurora the Bornean Orangutan

    Birthday: March 2.
    Hometown Zoo: Houston Zoo.
    Cuddle Report: Craves attention. Rejected by her mom, Aurora can now be found snuggling up to volunteers who don a furry faux-orangutan vest and hold her round the clock.

  • Caspian the Eurasian Eagle Owl

    Birthday: March 30.
    Hometown Zoo: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
    Cuddle Report: Giant potential. The newest zooborn, Caspian hatched at a compact quarter-pound—but will eventually sprout a six-foot wingspan. They grow up so fast!

Finalists Details

Kasi the Cheetah

This cute cub, named Kasi (Swahili for "one with speed"), was transferred here as a newborn in February from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, where the baby’s mother was unable to care for him. These days, he is being cared for 24-7 by zoo staff. He’s also cohabitating with a seemingly unlikely friend: a female Labrador puppy, brought in to help the cub form an important social bond. (Zoos often bring in canines to befriend orphaned cheetahs, as the two species get along surprisingly well.) Since being introduced to each other in April, the two furry tots have become fast friends. There's no fear of separation anxiety either—animal curator Tim Smith says that Kasi and Mtani (Swahili for "close friend") will live out the rest of their lives together.

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Aurora the Bornean Orangutan

And you thought your kid was needy: Baby orangutans cling to their mothers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for at least their first six months of life. That fact was complicated for baby Aurora, who was rejected by her mom after she was born on March 2; as a solution, a mix of zoo employees from every department, as well as trained volunteers—50 in all—are taking turns wearing a furry faux orangutan vest and holding the baby round the clock until she’s ready to move about by herself. Talk about being raised by a village.

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Caspian the Eurasian Eagle Owl

This fluffy owl chick hatched on March 30—and, though he was only around a quarter of a pound, he is part of one of the largest owl species in the world and could grow to have a wingspan of six feet. Eurasian eagle owls, found all across Europe and Asia, as well as in parts of North Africa, feed mostly on small mammals (Caspian likes mice), though full-grown they can prey on larger ones such as foxes and young deer.

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