Serval kittens make first appearance at New Zealand zoo

KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion Post
Friday, 15 December 2006

Three of Wellington Zoo’s newest feline residents have had their
first chance to stretch their long legs with their first peek of home.

Three-month-old serval kittens Tunde, Uzuri and Shanti, were born in
captivity at the zoo, but have spent all of their life behind closed
doors.

The energetic and inquisitive kittens had their first taste of the
outside world when they were walked around the zoo grounds on leashes
yesterday.

“We’re getting them used to people, and to the other noises, smells
and activities in the zoo,” head trainer Gerry Whitehouse-Tedd said.

Native to Africa, servals are small cats that grow to about the size
of a large dog and have the longest legs in relation to their body
size of any in the cat family.

They are also one of the few cats to have both stripes and spots. Mr
Whitehouse-Tedd said the kittens, two male and one female, currently
lived in a room in his house, on-site at Wellington Zoo, which was
getting a little worse for wear.

“They are getting a little adventurous and like to climb the curtains
and up onto the windowsill, so they need to get some outdoor
exercise.”

The kittens were born on September 9, and for their first two weeks
were hand-fed every two hours.

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