Cat lovers will adore the photos and videos of this endangered wild cat - the Sand Cat.  But these cats are not pets, and conservationists are trying to save this species so that some day the Sand Cat can thrive in its natural habitat.  That's why the scientists at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan rejoiced when Rotem, its female Sand Cat, gave birth to four kittens and is caring for them too.

Three weeks after their birth, the Sand Cat kittens are starting to roam around their den and explore just like all kittens. Are they cute?

 

Sand Cat kittens born at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.comSand Cat kittens born at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.com

 

 Sand Cat kitten at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.comSand Cat kitten at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.com

 

Sand Cat kitten at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.comSand Cat kitten at the Zoo Tel Aviv Ramat-Gan: photographer: Tibor Jäger image viia zooborns.com

 

Here is a short video of the kitties with their mom, Rotem.

 

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Adult Sand Cat: image via wikipedia.orgAdult Sand Cat: image via wikipedia.orgSand Cats (Felis margarita) or Sand Dune Cats are found (but rarely) in the deserts of northern Africa and Asia.  There were once Sand Cats in Israel, but they are now extinct there.  Although the Israeli zoos have been releasing their cats into the wild, so far, they have not survived.

But Sand Cats are built to survive in the dessert, without interference from humans. They thrive in extremely dry conditions.  While hunting their oversized ears, which cannot only turn, but become flat, when needed, amplify the sounds of their prey.  Their paws are protected from the heat by an extra pad of fur that grows between their nails.

 

Why do captive animals sometimes reject their offspring? Read here.

sources: Zooborns, Wikipedia

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