Small, but feisty!
Utah’s Hogle Zoo welcomed an eight-month-old black-footed cat, Gaia, who is considered to be the deadliest cat on the planet.
“At just 8 months old, she is small in size but large in her feisty personality,” the Salt Lake City-based zoo said on Dec. 28.
The adorable petite species, listed as the smallest species of a wild cat in Africa, is known for its amazing survival abilities — recording a hunting success rate of 60%, according to Smithsonian Mag.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo brought in Gaia after being briefed by the Black-Footed Cat Consortium for breeding purposes.
There are only a total of 29 black-footed cats in the Consortium, but with successful breeding — the Zoo believes it will “significantly contribute to the program.”
Breeding for the nocturnal cat is imperative due to them being a “vulnerable species,” the Felidae Conservation Fund mentions
Black-footed cats, located in Namibia, Central and Southern Botswana and South Africa, typically measure around eight inches and weigh from two to five pounds.
The cat’s moniker “black-footed” gets the name from having black and dark brown soles, or pads, found on the cat’s fur.
The Utah Hogle Zoo is already home to another black-footed cat Ryder, who has yet to meet his fellow feline due to Gaia’s young age.
Gaia’s arrival comes four months after the Hogle Zoo’s record-breaking cat, Sanura, died.
Sanura was the oldest black-footed cat in accredited zoos at 18.5 years old.
She died from multiple age-related symptoms, the zoo announced in September.
“Sanura was a loved animal in the Small Animal Building and will be greatly missed,” the zoo said. She was known for her sassy personality and perfect “grumpy cat” side eye glare. Some of her favorite things were taking dirt baths, watching the tortoises out of her window, and making dens in piles of hay.”
The Hogle Zoo is home to a variety of animals from diverse ecosystems.
The zoo is a non-profit, accredited organization with a mission to create champions for wildlife, according to its website.