Thursday 6 May 2004
We have been going cat mad over past months in order to help protect some of the world's most endangered felines
The first piece of good news is the arrival of a male serval at London Zoo. Our newest feline resident is called Kenya and has joined us from Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, to take part in a co-ordinated breeding plan to help to ensure the continued survival of this magnificent species.
This is the first time in over ten years that we have had servals at the Zoo, so this is a very exciting time for us. When Kenya's female mate joins us later in the year we all have our fingers crossed for the patter of tiny paws!
In order to provide the best care for our new arrival, Kenya's enclosure has been extended and includes a wide variety of hunting, climbing and stalking opportunities – all of which allow him to exercise natural behaviour patterns. This means that his new indoor den has been extended to incorporate the sand cat enclosure, so our family of three sand cats can now be seen enjoying their new home in the Small Mammal House, on the North side of the Zoo.
Secondly, on a global note, our conservation programmes team is currently working hard in Jambi Province, Sumatra studying wild tigers and their prey on and around an oil palm plantation, to establish how the area is used by the animals and put in place conservation measures to help protect the endangered Sumatran tiger population.
One of the camera traps used by the project team has captured photographic evidence of a stunning, endangered clouded leopard. The team had previously spotted paw prints that belonged to a medium sized cat but hadn't attributed them to a clouded leopard and had instead thought they belonged to younger tigers however, the camera never lies and, as you will see from the photograph, there is definitely a clouded leopard using the area.
The final feline fact is the news that Lara the Lynx has left London Zoo to take part in the European lynx breeding programme in Amnéville Zoo in France. Lara joined us in May 2001, after being found in a garden in Cricklewood. When she came to the zoo she was very underweight and had a fracture in left hind foot, but thanks to the care and dedication of staff at London Zoo, Lara soon recovered. All reports from Amnéville say she is doing well and we wish Lara all the best in her new home.
ZSL, through London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, actively participates in global breeding programmes with the species at both sites. These breeding programmes work towards ensuring genetic diversity and viable populations of the world's most endangered animals, an aspect of conservation that is key to ZSL's mission.