The zoo is celebrating new kittens today.
LITTLE ROCK (July 21, 2016) – They have their mother’s eyes and their father’s ears. They’re frisky and like all youngsters they only want to eat and play. They are Blue and Bayuda, caracal kittens recently born at the Little Rock Zoo.
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Now six weeks old, Blue and Bayuda are perfect replicas of their parents – mother, Binti and father, Bob. The cats are stunning with golden brown fur, fierce feline eyes accented by black markings and sharply pointed ears regally tufted with black fur.
“Caracals aren’t endangered but they aren’t very common in zoos, so we’re very excited to have these kittens join our Little Rock Zoo family,” said Zoo Director Mike Blakely. “This is the second set of caracal kittens we’ve had born here and we think the guests are going to love seeing them interacting with each other.”
The female kittens’ names, Blue and Bayuda, are a reference to the African and Asian desert regions that make up parts of their natural habitats. Sometimes called the desert lynx, the caracal is widely distributed across Africa, Central Asia, and south-west Asia into India.
Their golden coloration helps camouflage them while they hunt in areas that may include, desert, savannah and forest. With muscular builds and long legs, these medium sized cats are capable of leaping 10 feet into the air to snatch low flying birds or those attempting to escape attack on the ground.
Because they sometimes kill small livestock, caracals are often killed as vermin. Additionally, habitat destruction is a significant threat to these animals in central, west, north and northeast Africa. It is also likely to be the main threat in the Asian parts of its range.
The Little Rock Zoo’s caracals are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP) which makes breeding recommendations and helps participating zoos find mates for threatened species.