Let’s Celebrate the Arrival of the Arabian Sand Cat

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has recently captured footage of the first Arabian Sand Cat spotted in the wild after almost ten years.

Arabian Sand Cat

The Arabian Sand Cat, known for its cuteness, is a unique species as it can survive in both sandy and stony deserts. It inhabits the deserts of North Africa and Southwest and Central Asia, but due to small and declining population, it’s labeled as near threatened. Recently, the Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi shared pictures of three cats spotted in the United Arab Emirates after a decade of no sightings. Due to their rarity and covert behavior, Arabian Sand Cats are notoriously hard to spot. Their thick foot fur protects them from the sand heat and works like snowshoes, distributing their weight and leaving faint footprints, adding to the challenge of spotting them.

Arabian Sand Cat

The Arabian Sand Cat has an interesting attribute where they freeze, get low to the ground, and close their eyes when spotted. This makes it difficult to find them at night as their reflective lenses are not visible with their eyes closed, and their camouflage coats make them blend in perfectly with their surroundings. However, a trio of these cats was discovered by stationary cameras set up by the environment agency. This discovery is a crucial first step in accurately determining the number of surviving cats. As they do not thrive in captivity, the hope is that the species can be saved from extinction by their survival in the wild. It is hoped that their elusive nature is the reason for their small numbers and not due to their population decreasing.

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