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Rare Pallas' kittens make first appearance at Scottish zoo

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A litter of six rare and exotic kittens of the Pallas's cats made their world appearance on Wednesday at the 260 acres Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland. Hidden cameras were installed to observe the very elusive creatures native to central Asia and the Middle East.

Truly adorable, the kittens and grown cats look like Persians, and are about the size of a domestic cat, however they are native to plateaus and mountain regions. According to the Dodo.com, scientists with the Snow Leopard Conservancy in Nepal, recently discovered the Pallas's cats living 13,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level. Although extremely shy and nocturnal, they were observed hunting for food along the mountainside.

According to Live Sciences, the kittens at Highland Wildlife Park are less than three months old, and are difficult to breed because they are highly susceptible to Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease known to be fatal to kittens. Bred from a male named Beebop and a female named Alula, zoo personnel and scientists are hoping to learn more about the elusive cats.

Although they are considered as Near Threatened, scientists worry that their population will continue to dwindle because of poisons used in pest control and habitat loss. Sadly, the animals are still hunted for their skins.

Information about the Pallas' cat:

Length: 1.5 to 2 ft
Weight: 6.5 to 11 lbs
Lifespan: 8 to 10 yrs in wild
Habitat: Mountain regions, including grassland, woodland, and semi-desert
Diet: Pikas, hares, and small rodents such as gerbils, voles, and young marmots
Risk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Lower risk/near threatened )

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