Northern Brooklyn

Prospect Park Zoo starts program to preserve rare cat species

January 25, 2019 By Raanan Geberer Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Prospect Park Zoo has a new exhibit of Pallas’s cats and plans to start a breeding program for this at-risk species of felines.

The Pallas’s cat, which is native to Central Asia, has been classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2002. These cats are often hunted for their fur and organs or accidentally caught in traps, according to Metro.

Pallas’s cats are small, about the size of a domestic cat, but are not closely related to the various familiar household breeds. This makes them a perfect size for the relatively small, 12-acre Prospect Park Zoo, Metro said.

“We’ve been involved in breeding programs with many animals, from frogs to Hamadryas baboons,” Denise McClean, director of the zoo, told Metro, “but this for us is very special, because it’s a really interesting cat and there are not a lot of zoos in the U.S. that have that [opportunity].”

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Pallas’s cats were discovered in 1776 by Peter Simon Pallas, a Prussian zoologist and biologist.

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