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Big eyes, a cute nose and soft fur. Zoo welcomes ‘deadliest cat in the world’

An unusual cat lives in one of the zoos. The 8-month-old female named Gaia is representative of a species considered the deadliest cat in the world. These predators can kill more animals in a day than a leopard can kill in six months. Despite their excellent physical condition, they do not do very well in the wild. This is why Gaia, as the representative of an endangered species, has an important mission to fulfill. It is not yet known whether he will be able to cope with it.

The zoo’s new resident is one of the world’s deadliest mammals

At the turn of December and January, a new resident of the feline family moved to Hogle Zoo. At first glance, the zoo employees’ pet looks like a domestic cat and is just as charming, but in reality, it has nothing in common with stuffed cats. A young female named Gaia is a black-footed cat (Felis nigripes). It is a species of small wild cat living in southern Africa, considered a first-rate hunter and therefore the deadliest cat in the world.

Black-footed cats do not exceed 5 kg and 55 cm in body length. Their characteristic feature is the black soles of their feet and their rather brutal habits. Black-footed cats hunt better than any other feline. This discreet-looking predator is capable of killing up to 20 small animals each night. Specialists who study the habits of this species estimate that there are an average of 10 to 14 victims per day, including small reptiles, mammals, birds and sometimes amphibians. Additionally, they are capable of killing more animals in a day than leopards do in six months.

Black-footed cats are in danger of extinction. The future of the species rests on the shoulders of the cat

It would seem that such an efficient hunting predator is doing well, but contrary to our expectations, ant tigers, as they are usually called, are in big trouble. Black-footed cats are currently classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, and it is estimated that there are only around 10,000 adults left worldwide. This is why the arrival of Gaia in American facilities is an extremely important event.

Many zoos have already taken or intend to take steps to replenish the population of these unique predators. Gaia must be an important part of this campaign. The female was entrusted with the mission of expanding her species. She is one of 29 individuals whose task is to reproduce under human supervision.

Gaia is still very young and has just turned 8 months old, so it will take some time before the specialists decide to introduce her to Ryder, a black-footed male cat who has lived at Hogle Zoo for a long time.

Will Gaia like Ryder? This is the great unknown

In theory, Gaia and Ryder fit together like a glove. These two young, strong black-footed cats should soon feel the call of nature telling them that it is time to breed. But zoo employees are well aware that nothing can be certain. Maybe, for unknown reasons, they don’t like each other or will be separated for other circumstances, like the red pandas in the Wrocław zoo.

For now, there’s no need to make any assumptions, let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Gaia quickly gets used to her new home and feels comfortable at Hogle Zoo. Only when she has gained self-confidence will the specialists try to put her in contact with a potential partner.

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