National

First Japan-born sand cat to make public debut at zoo in Tochigi

KYODO

The first sand cat born in Japan will make its public debut Saturday at a zoo in the resort town of Nasu, about 160 kilometers north of Tokyo.

The female kitten was born in late April at the Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi Prefecture and has been attracting attention since videos of her were made available on the zoo’s official YouTube channel.

The sand cat is found in deserts in Africa and elsewhere, and is one of the world’s smallest kinds of wildcat. It measures around 40 to 60 centimeters in length, and its fur is light brown — enabling it to blend into its surroundings.

The zoo said the cat, yet to be named, will be displayed from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., but the schedule is subject to change depending on the state of its health.

The kitten weighed about 59 grams and measured about 13 cm in length when born April 27, according to the zoo, which reopened May 23 after closing due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

She was weak at the time, but has been growing healthily. After three weeks, she has increased nearly fourfold in weight and reached about 15 cm in length.

The zoo said it will ask the public to propose names for the cat and announce the one selected at the end of July. Suggestions will be accepted until July 5.

Coronavirus banner