September 23, 2012

Rare fishing cat born in Isle of Man zoo

Fishing cats are twice the size of your standard house cat, their paws are actually webbed, and, as the name suggests, they really love water.

They are a very rare and endangered feline species and now there's one more of these rare and little-known creatures, after a new kitten was born at Curraghs Wildlife Park on the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom.

Curraghs Park staff announced the birth last week, but the kitten is already eight weeks old and is often seen out and about with its mother at the park's Asian Swamp enclosure. It will be weaned in about six months, and mature within the year.

Due to encroachment on the species' native wetlands in southeast Asia, the fishing cat is listed as endangered.

Around 200 are kept in captivity worldwide, and only 10 are born per year. Adult fishing cats can weigh as much as 16 kg (35 lbs) and live up to ten years in captivity.

Curraghs Park staff say the kitten is the second born to a pair at the wildlife park, although its sibling was later taken to another zoo for a breeding program.

The sex of the new arrival has not been revealed, and there's no word on a name.

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