Puurfect! Adorable rare Manul kittens born in Wrocław zoo
A litter of gorgeous grumpy-looking Manul kittens has been born at the zoo in Wrocław.
Notoriously hard to breed in captivity, the five furballs born on May 14th, survived infancy and are now exploring their new environment to the delight of proud three-year-old parents, mum Zarina and dad Nazar.
Zoo director, Radosław Ratajszczak, said in the press release: “We were very keen on breeding this species, because they are unusual animals in terms of the habitat and adaptation to it.”
Manuls can withstand extremely difficult conditions, as they live in very dry and cold terrain, where one of the lowest temperatures on the globe are recorded, falling even to -50 degrees Celsius.
The wild cats characteristics include the longest fur of the cat family, making them seem larger than they really are.
Their ability to remain unseen is augmented by the colouring that perfectly imitates the bedrock and they have a third eyelid that allows them to protect their eyes from the freezing wind.
“When designing the enclosure, we took into account, above all, the needs of the animals,” added Ratajszczak.
The mortality rate of Manul kittens is very high. In natural habitats, it is estimated to be around 68 percent.
It is similar in zoos, which makes the success in Wroclaw even greater. Among the 23 zoological gardens in Europe which breed Manuls, kittens were raised only in three, including in the capital of Lower Silesia.
Their wild cat population was thought to be stable until 2002. Since then they are considered to be endangered.
As the cats are difficult to find, scientists are unsure of their exact numbers, but judging by the declining number of footprints found in the snow and the human impact on their environment.
Another reason is how susceptible they are to illness. Manul cats were used to living in isolation, making their immune systems very weak.