Sand Kittens in Israel
“We are very excited because [the] sand cat is an extinct species in Israel, although in the world it’s not extinct, it’s nearly threatened,’ said Keren Or, the Ramat Gan’s information coordinator.
The sand cat is the world’s only true desert cat species and exists primarily in Asia and Africa. A tiny, sand colored species with large ears and weighing less than the average housecat, the elusive and solitary species was once plentiful in Israel’s arid southern climate. Today, however, the cats are thought to no longer exist in the nation.
‘Here in Israel it has been extinct because it was pushed away from the sand by other mammals,” Or told the press after the birth of the kittens. Human settlement and the degradation of the desert’s fragile eco-system are also a large factor in the cat’s departure from Israel’s sandy regions.
Despite being born in Israel, though, the kittens will not remain in the country or be released to the wild but are destined for other lands to be used in conservation efforts. ‘Sand cats in our zoo are a part of an international … European breeding program,’ Or explained.