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WINSTON, Ore. — After welcoming a brand new cheetah cub into the world, Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon has plans to pair the cub with a couple of rescue puppies to ensure that he isn't without companions.
“The cub is doing great- bright alert and responsive,” said Benji Alcantar, Wildlife Safari’s head veterinarian. “He's energetic, playful and eating everything. He is still in observation as he just got here, but overall he's in great health!”
The cub has been dubbed Khayam Jr., and the plan is to raise him as an "ambassador cheetah" for the park's outreach programs, according to Wildlife Safari.
“These cats serve a really vital purpose in what we’re all about here at the park,” said Dan Van Slyke, the park’s executive director. “Our ambassador programs help us to reach out to kids in Douglas County who may not ever have the chance to see some of these wild animals up close. Our ambassadors also visit nursing homes, special community events, fundraisers and other local activities.”
But before Khayam Jr. embarks on his future outreach career, he'll be introduced to his new companion — one of two rescue pups from the Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center.
“Everyone at Saving Grace is excited to be adopting these two puppies, Gator and Rhino, to Khayam Jr,” said Wendy Kang, Saving Grace’s executive director. “We know that they will receive the best of care at Wildlife Safari and live a life to be envied. We’re especially excited that Khayam Jr’s puppy will help spotlight adoption.”
According to Wildlife Safari, having puppy companions for young ambassador animals is not an unusual phenomenon, but usually those pups are purebred. They hope to highlight animal adoption by partnering with Saving Grace for this particular pairing.
“We always have pets who would be a great fit for any lifestyle and have lots of love to give. We hope that when people are looking to add a new family member, they will think adoption first,” said Kang.
Between now through March of 2019, anyone who adopts an animal from Saving Grace will get one day family pass to Wildlife Safari.
“Khayam Jr can tell you that love may not look like what you were expecting; it’s about finding someone who’s personality fits,” said Kang.
Did you know that cheetahs don't have fully retractable claws like other cat species? This helps them grip the ground while running, sort of like cleats on the bottom of soccer shoes. You can see their claw tip marks on their footprints!
— Wildlife Safari (@WildlifeSafari) January 5, 2019