Hellabrunn Zoo is thrilled to announce that, Luzi, its female Fishing Cat, gave birth to a kitten on November 1st. Now almost six-weeks-old, the cute offspring is spending more and more time outside the birthing den, giving visitors an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the new arrival as it explores its home.
“This is the first time that Hellabrunn has succeeded in breeding the endangered Fishing Cat. Naturally, we are very proud,” said Zoo Director, Rasem Baban. “The little kitten is truly a joy to behold and I hope it will play a role in raising awareness of the threatened status of this beautiful cat.”
Hellabrunn Zoo also participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Fishing Cats, which of course makes this first breeding success all the more delightful.
Luzi, the Zoo’s female Fishing Cat, has resided in the Jungle World at Hellabrunn Zoo since 2012. She was joined by a male, Sangke, in late 2016. Apparently, the chemistry between the two animals clicked. But as with most cat species, raising the young is a matter for the female. Luzi is a caring mother - she never loses sight of her kitten on its first solo tours of the enclosure.
The gender of the kitten is yet to be determined. This information will be available once the Hellabrunn veterinarian team has conducted the first medical check for the newborn. As with most births at the zoo, the keepers ensure that mother and offspring are not disturbed and away from the public eye for a period after the birth.
Fishing Cats (Prionailurus viverrinus) are medium-sized and native to Southeast Asia. Unlike most other cats, they like to go into the water to hunt fish. The species is threatened by the extensive destruction of its natural habitat, wetlands. As a result, only about 10,000 individuals remain in the wild. The Fishing Cat is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
With a little luck, the newborn kitten will be on view daily from 9 am to 5 pm at Hellabrunn Zoo. The Fishing Cat enclosure is situated in the Jungle World, where the temperature is always a pleasant 25° C, even in the current chilly autumn weather.