Birth of Endangered Kittens Gives Hope to Rare Species
The Smithsonian National Zoo is celebrating the birth of two endangered fishing cats, marking the first time the endangered species has been successfully bred there, the zoo said.
The two kittens were born on May 18 to 7-year-old mother Electra. Zookeepers expect the kittens to become valuable breeders in the future because their genes are not well-represented in the captive population of fishing cats.
Fishing cats are vanishing from riverbanks in their native India and Southeast Asia due to water pollution, poaching and increased shrimp farming throughout their habitat. Wild populations have been cut in half over the past 18 years, prompting the International Union for Conservation of Nature to change the species' status from vulnerable to endangered in 2008.
Source: Our Amazing Planet