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Bachelor on the prowl: Prospect Park zookeepers welcome male African cat, hope female, babies will follow

Cat’s meow: The Prospect Park Zoo added this black-footed cat from Africa to its nocturnal exhibit earlier this week.
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They hope this puss knocks boots!

A male member of Africa’s smallest wild-feline species joined the menagerie at Prospect Park Zoo’s nocturnal section this week, and zookeepers hope to introduce him to a female in the near future so the two can do their part in perpetuating their rarefying breed, according to the animal house’s head honcho.

“Our hope is to breed the cats to contribute to the survival of the species, while educating our guests about a beautiful yet vulnerable cat species that is unknown to most people,” said Denise McClean, the zoo’s director.

The diminutive black-footed cat is native to Southern Africa, where it tends to keep to itself, hunting birds and rodents at night with the aid of its large eyes and razor-sharp claws.

The breed has seen better days, however, and a loss of habitat coupled with poaching and indiscriminate trapping led the International Union for Conservation of Nature to classify black-footed cats as vulnerable, a designation the species has held since 2002.

And even though the fuzz munchkin hails from half a world away, some locals said it would look right at home hunting rats in Brooklyn.

“It does look like a regular cat,” Sheepshead Bay resident Yasmine Arslan said after examining a picture of the zoo’s latest fluff ball.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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