Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sweet Little Kitties

Okay, Okay, that title is misleading. These aren't really kitties, nor are they all that sweet, I venture, given that they are wild cats.  But they are truly wonderful, and I am delighted to share with you a glimpse of these wonderful, proud animals from the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.

My friend Meldee and her husband Don have graciously played reporters-at-large for me this week, sharing these photos with us, as well as the stories of these remarkable animals.
The Amur Leopard just chillin'
 The Amur leopard (see above) is one of the most endangered cats in the world.  They are native to a region of southeastern Russia and there are only forty - that's 40 - left in the wild.  Not only has mankind destroyed their natural habitat, but they have been hunted to near extinction by poachers for their pelts and bones.

According to Wikipedia there are several groups trying to save this beautiful animal.  The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) is one initiative of Russian and western conservation organisations trying to conserve the Amur leopard and the Amur tiger and secure a future for both species in the Russian Far East and Northeast China.

There are two Amur Leopards in residence at the Hogle Zoo.  I'm glad they are helping to preserve these beautiful beasts.

Next (below) we have a Black-footed cat baby cub that was just born this year. The black-footed cat is Africa's smallest wild cat species.  Small wild cats have a difficult time breeding in captivity, so the Hogle Zoo created a special environment that would be a happier place for these little ones to thrive.  Their Species Preservation Plan received special recognition for their work in this area back in 2009 when the first baby cat was born there.
Black-footed cat cub
 They recently have had a second baby born there.  It's a small miracle, as these cats are also on the Endangered list.  They are from Africa and while they have markings like a leopard, they are the size of a small house cat.

This one (above) looks like he'd be a great friend to my Jack!  What a little sweet face.  I'd love to take him home.... then I started wondering what the couch would look like after he got through with it?  Hmmmmm.  Maybe he's better off in the Zoo!

Speaking of sweet cats, here is the Sand Cat or the Sand Dune Cat.  Don caught him sleeping on a branch.  Looks comfy!
The Sand Dune Cat
These house-cat sized wild cats have peculiar shaped heads and big ears.  Meldee writes that she likes them for that reason.  They are cute, aren't they?  They come from the deserts of north Africa and are also found in southwest central Asia.
Oh, Hi.

I love the close up!  Isn't he a cutie pie?

The zoo has a pair of these Sand Dune cats and are hoping to breed them, too.  I keep thinking how sad the world would be without all these wonderful breeds of cats.  I'm so glad there are people dedicated to preserving them.

There will be more on the Hogle Zoo cats in a later post.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Great photos! I love the Sand Dune cats! We have a place called the Living Desert near us that specializes in animals from desert area of the world and it has some of the small wild cats. They are so adorable and look so much like house cats!Just found your blog by way of Pioneer Woman and thought I would stop by