The Wildlife Safari in Winston to welcome some new cheetah cubs. The park hit a new milestone with this litter and is excited about it.

The Wildlife Safari in Winston is preparing to welcome some new cheetah cubs.

The park hit a new milestone with this litter. Paca, a four-year-old cheetah, is a couple of weeks from being a first-time mother, and the park is excited about it.

“She was brought up by her mom with less human interaction, and she is voluntarily allowing us to ultrasound her so we can actually track the pregnancy for her,” said Analisa Edell, a veterinary intern.

A cheetah pregnancy is usually confirmed with an x-ray, but they need to wait about 65 days to be able to see the bones.

The Wildlife Safari is helping pioneer the use of ultrasound. With Paca, they were able to verify the pregnancy in just 29 days.

That’s sooner than anyone has ever been able to do.

“We thought it would probably be out of the realm for these highly stressed animals,” said Sarah Roy, the Carnivore Supervisor. “But they’ve done really well with it. Their food motivation is really high, especially during pregnancy.”

The park has two types of cheetahs, ambassadors, and mother-raised. Ambassadors are hand raised and desensitized to humans, but aren’t a part of the breeding population. The mother-raised are raised by a cheetah and have all the typical instincts.

Paca is mother-raised. For her to allow the vet staff to touch her stomach for an ultrasound is unique.

“Ultrasounds on mother-raised cheetahs as a whole is a brand new kind of tool that the breeding centers are using which is going to help take our care and husbandry for these animals to the next level,” Roy said.

Paca and her mate Helios are a “one rated breeding match.” It’s the most genetically valued match a pair of cheetahs can have.

They’re the only “one ranked” pair to breed in the country this year, and the cubs will be the most genetically valuable in the North American zoo cheetah population.

Wildlife safari has verified Paca is pregnant with at least four cubs.

Originally published at News 10