Husbandry

Keeping Black-footed cats at Wuppertal Zoo

Wuppertal Zoo received black-footed cats already in 1957, and Schwarzfußkatze mit Nachwuchssucceeded in breeding them in 1963. The zoo visitor can observe these fascinating cats in the small cat house, which was already built in 1952. Black-footed cats still regularly raise their litters here: More than 145 kittens were born in 78 litters.

Much data in concern with their reproduction were collected, such as gestation period, number of kittens and sexual maturity, which were of use for the field research. In return, the husbandry of black-footed cats in the Zoo was enhanced through applying the information gathered in the wild such as feeding a large variety of prey animals to the cats.

International Studbook and European Endangered Species Programme (EEP)

Because of its breeding success Wuppertal Zoo took over the International Studbook in 1993, where births, deaths, transfers, and current status of captive black-footed cats world-wide, as well as genetic and statistical analyses and results of research are published in two languages. The studbook is published every 1-2 years with the goal to provide all holders with comprehensive information about all black-footed cats in captivity. The studbook keeper for the species is Dr. Ulrich Schürer, director of Wuppertal Zoo.

Also in 1993 the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) was formed with the aim to coordinate which animals are best suited for pairing in order to maintain genetic diversity and to avoid inbreeding.

As of July 2011, 74 black-footed cats were registered worldwide, and there are detailed records for a total of 726 captive cats since 1964. Presently, 23 institutions in Germany, Arabia, USA, UK and South Africa keep black-footed cats.