This is Rotem, who was the only surviving sand cat at the Ramat Gan Safari Park, Israel, when she lost her mate a year ago. Then last September she is introduced to Kalahari, his replacement, a sand cat imported from Sweden last September.
Rotem really didn’t take to this new arrival and the two spent most of their time avoiding each other.
Then, three weeks ago, to the astonishment of Rotem’s keepers, she gave birth to three kittens, who have now started to totter on their tiny legs beyond the nest.
“We had been extremely worried,” confessed Sigal Horowitz, spokeswoman of the Safari, which is officially called the Zoological Centre of Tel Aviv. “Here we had gone to all this effort to bring her a mate, a full year ago, and nothing was happening. And these are critical years for sand cats – they don’t live forever.”
Sands cats are beautiful creatures and also very rare, there is only 116 recorded sand cat living on this world today. The are very small, weighing between 1.5 to 3 kilos, they are sand coloured with large ears and thrive in extreme desert conditions. They are also high on the list of animals that zoos around the world are cooperating to try to preserve. The hope is to be able to restore them to nature one day. Let’s hope they succeed because the world would be a sadder place without them.