Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pallas's Kittens Highland Debut

Photo: The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

At first glance these gorgeous kittens look like a bit like domestic Persian cats with their rounder, fluffy appearance, but with shorter ears. However, the latest arrivals at the Highland Wildlife Park may look cute and cuddly, but these are three Pallas’s cat kittens from the high altitude regions of central Asia.

The first Pallas’s cat kittens ever born at the Highland Wildlife Park, these bundles of fluff were born to dad Beebop and mum Alula around the 4th June. They are now nine weeks old and are getting brave enough to explore their enclosure.

Pallas’s cats are mainly grey in colour with dark spots on the head and a dark ringed tail. Perfectly suited at blending into their rocky surroundings, Asian Pallas’s cats are found in the high plateaus and mountains of central Asia, from Iran to western China and Mongolia. These beautiful wild cats are adapted to a life at very high altitudes and have thick fur to protect them against the environmental extremes of their habitat.

A small wild cat, the Pallas’s cat is currently classified as near threatened and has a decreasing wild population due to harmful agricultural practices and fur trapping. The European Zoo Association breeding programme for this unusual and highly specialised cat species is managed by staff at the Highland Wildlife Park.


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