Tigers, lions, and leopards are typically the first species that spring to mind when we think of ferocious wild cats. It turns out that the biggest cat isn't always the most dangerous. However, it's really adorable. The 8-month-old black-footed cat at Utah's Hogle Zoo has gained the title of "world's deadliest cat" because of its exceptional hunting success rate.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums oversees the North American breeding program, which includes the young cat named Gaia. There are only 9,700 black-footed cats left in the wild, making them vulnerable. Her parents are hoping she will mate with Ryder, a 3-year-old male at the Utah Zoo. Until Gaia reaches adulthood, the two cats are currently housed in different enclosures.
Black-footed cats are expert hunters who capture their prey, which is typically rodents, reptiles, birds, and insects, 60% of the time, despite weighing only two to six pounds. This is especially remarkable because large wild cats only succeed 25% of the time. Bob Cisneros, associate director of animal care at Hogle Zoo, says, "While animals like Ryder and Gaia may be found in Africa, far away from what we do daily... they become representatives of a conservation message that applies to everything here."
I hope the two future lovebirds get along well and that the conservation efforts proceed as planned.