Earlier this month, the Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia shared delightful news on VK.com: three Pallas’ Cats had become mothers to an ensemble of 16 charming wild kittens, each boasting vivid blue eyes. Tatyana Pevneva, a senior official at Novosibirsk Zoo, detailed that the births spanned from June 1 to June 11, 2020, with litter sizes ranging from three to eight kittens. As these kittens age, their striking blue eyes transition through shades of green before settling into yellow. While the zoo is keenly observing the kittens’ growth, decisions about their future remain undecided.
The Novosibirsk Zoo has been home to the Pallas’ Cat breed since 1995. These enchanting kittens, in addition to being visitor favorites, play a pivotal role in global conservation initiatives. Through various international programs, descendants of these kittens now reside in zoological spaces across Europe, including Germany, France, Switzerland, and the UK.
Cultivating a thriving Pallas’ Cat population in captivity has its challenges, compounded by high mortality rates that threaten their numbers. In the wild, these cats inhabit the rugged terrains of Central Asia to Mongolia. Distressingly, their existence is imperiled due to environmental degradation and fur hunting, pushing them closer to the brink of extinction. The birth and growth of these kittens, therefore, are symbols of hope and resilience for this dwindling species.
At the Novosibirsk Zoo, visitors are captivated by a mother Pallas’s Cat and her sprightly kittens. Their rarity is underscored by the fact that only around 12,000 of them are believed to roam wild in Russia, with a mere 30 found in Russian zoological habitats by 2019’s close, as noted by Pevneva.
Although initially shy, the kittens at Novosibirsk have been warming up, slowly embracing their surroundings and growing more audacious with each passing day. On your next visit, with a touch of luck, you might witness these little wonders in all their feline splendor!