Children's Zoo is FELINE great about new wild cat residents!
With tiny paws and big attitudes, the zoo's newest feline residents may be small, but they sure are mighty. Meeka and Tut are two black-footed cats, a species of wild cat found in Africa. Although they average only six pounds as an adult, don't let their small size fool you! These tenacious cats are fierce predators in the wild African grasslands and deserts, often hunting over ten prey items a night!
Meeka is an eight year old female and Tut is an eight and a half year old male. They arrived late last year from the Birmingham Zoo, and have settled in nicely in the former serval exhibit down by the barnyard.
For a black-footed cat, Tut is very laid back. While he may still give animal care staff a sassy hiss once in a while, he often spends his days lounging inside a log. Meeka, on the other hand, has some attitude! Between the two of them, Meeka is definitely the boss. She is independent and highly intelligent, excelling at her training. The two enjoy snacking on mice and playing with snake sheds, as well as scratching their claws against a large log.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the black-footed cat species is considered to be “vulnerable.” This means that their wild populations are on the decline heading toward becoming endangered and, if something is not done to remedy the problems they face, the species may go extinct. Black-footed cats face population pressures due to habitat destruction and degradation, threats from hunters, and poison traps set for other predators. While populations in Botswana and South Africa are protected by law making it illegal to hunt them, many factors contribute to continued population decline. While Meeka and Tut are not currently a breeding pair, the two have been in the past, and may become one in the future.
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