The Birmingham Zoo is excited to announce that our 5 year old female black-footed cat Rhaegal is pregnant. Birmingham Zoo veterinary staff confirmed her pregnancy after performing fecal hormone analyses. This pregnancy will be the first for expectant mother Rhaegal. She is due to give birth within the next few weeks.
“Rhaegal’s pregnancy came shortly after being introduced to the Birmingham Zoo’s 9 year old male blackfooted cat Conan,” says Birmingham Zoo Vice President of Living Collections, Dr. Stephanie Braccini Slade. “The pairing of Rhaegal and Conan was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan ® (SSP) to help improve the black footed cat population,” said Dr. Slade. The Birmingham Zoo joins the AZA and other zoos around the world in maintaining SSP programs, cooperative breeding and conservation initiatives.
“Black-footed cats are considered a vulnerable species with a decreasing population,” said Birmingham Zoo President & CEO Chris Pfefferkorn, “conservation efforts from AZA facilities such as Birmingham Zoo play a critical role in sustaining the species. Historically, Birmingham Zoo has been successful in breeding the blackfooted cat species.”
Birmingham Zoo veterinary staff will continue to closely monitor Rhaegal for the duration of her pregnancy.