International Society For Endangered Cats

A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World

Glückwünsche Berlin Zoo! (Congratulations on rare and significant births!)

On Aug 5, 2012 the Berlin Zoo celebrated their first Rusty Spotted Cat births. The two healthy kittens, which likely weighed 2.0 – 2.7 ounces (60 – 77 g) each at birth, are now venturing out of the den to explore their habitat.

Rusty Spotted Cats (Prionailurus rubiginosus) are slightly smaller than Black Footed Cats and Kodkods and are the world’s smallest wild cats. Adult weights are estimated at 2.0 – 3.5 lbs (0.9 – 1.6 kg) as compared to the average overfed house cat which ranges from 5 – 20 lbs (2.3 – 9 kg)! They are closely related to the Fishing Cat and Leopard Cat with the main distinguishing feature being it’s tail which averages about 50% of head to body length and is unmarked. In the wild, births usually occur in the spring in a secluded den. The gestation period is approximately  67 days with a litter size of one to three kittens.

Rusty-Spotted cats are found exclusively in Sri Lanka and India. They are threatened by habitat loss due to the conversion of wild lands to farms. The Indian population is listed as CITES Appendix I and the Sri Lankan population as CITES Appendix II. There is some encouraging news from  World Wildlife Fund camera trapping studies over the past few years which discovered Rusty Spotted Cats in the Terai Arc landscape which was a previously unknown distribution area.

Very few zoos display and breed this species so these kittens are a vital and important addition to the captive population. To see these cats in action watch the video of Rusty Spotted Cats from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4f8Wv6UAUs&feature=player_embedded&noredirect=1

For more information on Rusty Spotted Cats and other small wild cats please visit the ISEC website at: http://www.wildcatconservation.org/

Sources:

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Prionailurus_rubiginosus/

www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2012/10/first-rusty-spotted-cats-in-168-years-at-the-berlin-zoo.html

www.wwfindia.org/?7322/Camera-traps-capture-exciting-animal-behaviour-across-India

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