The photographer of the Nyíregyháza Zoo has managed to capture a real rarity as the Geoffroy-cat engages in nightlife, rarely seen in zoos and it’s difficult for them to reproduce.
The Geoffroy cat’s birth is a huge professional success as only 75 individuals live in the world’s zoos and in the last 12 months professionals have managed to breed this rare cat in a total of 3 places.
In the program of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) the breeding couple from which the 12 years old male was born in the Czech Zoo came to Nyíregyháza in 2014, and the 11 years old German female came to Sóstó Zoo in 2017.
The species are mainly active at night and except the mating season, they are lonely creatures so their enclosure is designed to that. In the outside enclosure jungle-like, prolific plants help the animals to hide while inside the filtered light hiding places and many climbing surfaces can be found.
Currently, the 2 months old cub was born after 72 days of gestation that she was hidden by her mom, but the lucky ones can already see her getting used to her enclosure.
The little cub until the age of 8 to 10 weeks is fed by breast milk but gradually switches to consuming raw meat which is typical for predators. The birth of the little Geoffroy cat is also a great success because the cat has only bred in 3 places in zoos this year.
The species is named after Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire who was a 19th century French zoologist. The 45-75 centimeters long and 3-8 kilograms predator lives in Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile mainly in forests and bushes, but can also be found in the mountains above 3,300 meters which is why the locals call it the „cat of the mountains”.
The cats in their natural habitat are highly threatened as their fur is very popular in the animal trade because of its special pattern, as well as their drastically declining habitat also decimates them.
The color and pattern of their fur varies from area to area: the species that lives in the southern part of the continent is silver-gray and has patches of roses, the base color of the fur of those living in the north is ocher yellow with many small round black spots, but black melanistic specimens are also occure.
At dusk during hunting the cat’s fur blends into the environment, so they easily get their prey which mostly consist birds and small mammals.
They are an excellent swimmer, so they also like to fish in nature.
Unlike the domestic cat Geoffroy-cats develop much slower, so they live even longer, up to 18-20 years.