In late September, Gregory Breton and the team were going back to their campsite after spending seven long hours scouting the hot, dusty, Moroccan Sahara for sand cats. Suddenly, just four kilometers far from their destination, they noticed three pairs of gleaming eyes. Upon getting closer, the study realized on the list of stumbled upon something that, to their knowledge, hadn’t been encountered within the wild before C sand cat kittens!
Breton, who harmonizes with Panthera, a non-profit organization committed to conserving earth’s 40 wild cat species along with their ecosystems, says locating the felines is difficult. As the stealthy animals that happen to be most active at dusk, night, and dawn are really efficient at hiding and enjoy the perfectly colored fur to help them blend alongside their environment. The cats also throw away no visible pugmarks or prey remains, causing them to unattainable for you to trace.
Though the kittens that your researchers found were too young for radio-collars, they did find a way to convey a tracking device for an adult female sand cat, possibly the mother, which was also discovered in the region. Breton, who outlined the discovery within his blog, writes, “If we collect footage of her and follow her for an extended time, we can gather data over the natural reproduction cycles and offspring dispersal of your species in the wild – all topics nothing you’ve seen prior documented.”
Though some may look frail, sand cats, which possess slightly broader faces and bigger ears than domestic cats, are hardy animals. Endemic to northern Africa, the Middle East and southwest and central Asia, the animals endure the desert’s wild temperature fluctuations by digging burrows during the sand or taking shelter beneath rocks and shrubs throughout the day. The adept hunters obtain most of their moisture from their prey, which includes rodents like mice and gerbils, in addition to small birds, lizards, and snakes.
Resources: Panthera.org, earthtouchnews.org