Helping the Arabian Sand Cat
September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Dr Helen Senn from the RZSS WildGenes laboratory, based at Edinburgh Zoo, attended a meeting at Al Ain Zoo (@AlAinZooUAE) in Abu Dhabi to advise on a conservation breeding programme that is being set up for the Arabian sand cat through the newly formed Arabian Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZAA). The sand cat lives in the deserts of Arabia and can survive for months without water. Thick fur protects its paws from the baking ground and it makes burrows in the sand to cope with the extremes of midday and night-time temperatures. It is the only species of cat to inhabit true desert. Due to the large amount of development across the Arabian region populations of this species are likely to be in decline in the but very little is known about them. The WildGenes laboratory has been collaborating with Al Ain Zoo on the genetic management of sand cats since 2013, on projects that aim to improve their captive management and understand more about this cat in the wild.