The Smithsonian National Zoo Welcomes Its Litter of Baby Fishing Cats

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The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, is home to a pair of adorable Fishing Cat kittens.

Born on May 18 to mama Electra and daddy Lek, the kittens are as genetically significant as they are adorable. What’s so important about these kittens? They’re the only Fishing Cats bred and born in captivity at the National Zoo. Native to South and Southeast Asia, wild populations of Fishing Cats have become endangered as their habitats succumb to human destruction. Hunting and overfishing are also believed to contribute to the species’ severe decline.

Named for their exceptional fishing skills, Fishing Cats make their homes around freshwater sources and are excellent swimmers. They catch fish by tapping on the surface of the water, mimicking the motions of a delicious insect and luring unsuspecting meals to them. When the fish are close enough, the cats strike, and enjoy a tasty treat.

Fishing Cats are extremely difficult to breed in captivity, which is why the kittens are such a miracle. While Electra and Lek can be seen on display at the Zoo’s Asia Trail exhibit, the kittens are still under wraps — except for these photos!

According to a follow-up on their birth, the kittens are in perfect health, which bodes well for the zoo and for their contribution to Fishing Cats in the wild.

Via the Huffington Post

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