You may have never heard of the sand cat—that’s because it’s extremely rare. Rotem is a sand cat that lives at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel.
When she lost her mate Sela last year, it made her the last of her species at the park.
There are only 200 sand cats left in the world, with most being in captivity in zoos across Europe. In hopes of pulling Rotem out of her mourning, the park introduced Kalahari, a sand cat that was living in captivity in Sweden.
Unfortunately, these desert cats did not warm up to each other right away, or at least that’s what the staff thought. While Rotem and Kalahari acted totally disinterested in each other, they had to have had at least one tender moment… because Rotem was recently found nestled in her exhibit with three new kittens, wrote People Pets.
“We had been extremely worried,” confessed Sigal Horowitz, spokeswoman of the Safari, which is officially called the Zoological Center of Tel Aviv. “Here we had gone to all this effort to bring her a mate a full year ago, and nothing was happening. And these are critical years for sand cats—they don’t live forever.”
Sand cats are indigenous to Israel and Jordan, but are now extinct in the region, although there may be another sub-species that exists in the desert wastes of North Africa.The cats are small and weigh between 1.5 to 3 kilos. They have large ears and are a sand color.
According to Haaretz, the absurdity that Israel has to import a sand cat endemic to Israel (Kalahari) from Sweden (flying on Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul) showcases the sad plight of our planet: Many experts have been warning that mankind isn’t about to cause a sixth great extinction event. He already is.
They are a beautiful cat, and hopefully they won’t go extinct.