FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Robin Lentz, Co-Director
Bill Baker, Co-Director
Office (540) 343-3241
Pallas cat kittens
The Mill Mountain Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of 3 Pallas’ cat kittens. The kittens, two boys and one girl, were born on March 21, 2017 and are now 4 weeks old. The staff began preparing for their birth in December of 2016, the start of the breeding season for the parents, “Yeshi” and “Belka”. A voice activated Dictaphone and remote cameras were put into place by the Animal Care staff so that the courtship and birth could be monitored.
Nest box cameras allowed the staff to closely observe the female and the kittens after their birth. Three weeks ago, the staff became concerned about the health of the kittens and in consultation with the zoo’s veterinarian, made the difficult decision to remove the kittens for hand-rearing. Since that time the kittens have received around the clock care by the dedicated staff at Mill Mountain Zoo.
The Pallas’ cats are exhibited by seventeen zoos which work cooperatively with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this species. The SSP recommended that seven pairs of Pallas’ cats breed this year and Yeshi and Belka made the list. The addition of these three kittens will contribute to the captive population of Pallas’ cats (33). Pallas’ cats are native to central Asia and are listed by the IUCN as Near threatened. Habitat destruction is cited as the primary cause of decline in this species.
Visitors to Mill Mountain Zoo will soon be able to see these three kittens. They will be transferred to a nursery area in the Train Station very soon. In addition, the zoo staff will be holding a public naming contest for the kittens in the near future and the winners will receive a behind the scenes tour.