Meet the top cats at Banham Zoo in need of purrfect names
PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 07:00 21 July 2020
They’re definitely not your averge moggy but these new arrivals are all set to be the new main attraction at Norfolk’s Banham Zoo.
There’s just one problem – these odd but adorable Pallas kittens, with their large ears on the side of their heads rather than on top, and which spit and chatter rather than meow..need some names.
Banham Zoo has launched a competition over the next fortnight for the public to go to their Facebook page and suggest names for the kittens which were born in April and which have just had their first vaccinations and microchips.
The kittens are Pallas cats, native to central Asia and the keepers would like a name which reflects their heritage.
Apparently they are no more dangerous than a feral domestic cat. They also don’t live very long in the wild, on average only 27 months because they are heavily preyed on, but in captivity have been known to reach more than 11 years-old.
The new kittens were born to mum, Bella, and dad, Khal. Keepers gave the mother as much privacy as possible leading up to the birth, ensuring not to open their birthing box. The birth was determined based on mum’s behaviour and keepers confirmed the kittens’ first presence on April 22, when one was briefly seen in the entrance to the box.
The kittens received a visit from the zoo vet last week when the genders were also confirmed – four males. Now they just need a name and the competition to do this closes on August 1 when the keepers will choose the winning ones for each of the kittens.
Mike Woolham, animal manager at Banham Zoo, said: “We can’t wait to hear everybody’s name suggestions for our new kittens. Although it is difficult for keepers to identify any personality traits for the kittens just yet, they are so very playful if still a little shy.
“They still stay close to their mum’s side a lot of the time but can sometimes be found playing together around the enclosure.”
In the wild, Pallas cats live on rocky steppes at high altitudes of more than 4,000 feet, so they are well adapted to cold and arid environments. They are native to central Asia, in countries such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Iran and Nepal.
Although the comptition is free, entrants are encouraged to donate to the zoo’s ‘Save Our Zoos’ fundraising appeal.
The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), who run Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, recently opened to the public after the coronavirus shutdown.
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