A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World
It’s Kitten Time Again!
March 19, 2012Posted by on
This photo provided by Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species shows an eight month old kitten named Crystal. A fierce, tiny kitten is proof that black-footed cat embryos can be successfully implanted into housecats and that there are still kinks to be worked out in cloning the southern African species. Crystal is a test-tube kitten, her embryo created by in vitro fertilization and implanted into the womb of a domestic cat which gave birth Feb. 6 at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species.
Seven endangered black-footed cats have been born this year in the United States, but Crystal is the rarest — the first ever born from an embryo fertilized in a lab dish, frozen, and later implanted in a housecat’s womb.
Black-footed cats, which usually have one or two kittens per litter, also gave birth this spring at zoos in Omaha, Chicago, and Birmingham, Ala. Together with Crystal, they bring the total number of these cats in the U.S. to 60.
And if Crystal’s birth wasn’t exciting enough, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington announced the birth of two clouded leopard cubs – a male and female. Zoo staff will hand-raise them for the cubs safety and will invite the public to vote on the cub names once the cubs are more settled.