Wild Sand Kittens Have Been Photographed For The First Time, And They’ll Make Your Heart Melt

Credit: Grégory Breton

It took four, patient years of research, but wild sand kittens have finally been caught on camera for the very first time. The kittens — which are between the age of six and eight weeks — were spotted by the big cat organization Panthera. A team, headed by biologists Grégory Breton and Dr. Alexander Sliwa, spent approximately one hour taking photos of the kittens before radio-collaring an adult female they believe to be their mother.

The kittens were spotted by members of the organization in April of this year, in the Moroccan Sahara. Reportedly, Breton and Sliwa noticed three pairs of glowing eyes in the darkness and stopped to investigate. After learning that the eyes belonged to wild sand kittens, they couldn’t believe their luck.

Said Breton, the managing director of Panthera France: “Finding these kittens was astonishing. We believe this was the first time researchers ever documented wild sand cat kittens in their African range.”

As Bored Panda reports, sand cats are the only species of cat that lives exclusively in the desert. Their favorite hide-aways are in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Due to their sand-colored coats, they are oftentimes extraordinarily difficult to locate — let alone photograph. It doesn’t help that their furry paws don’t leave footprints in the sand.

Wild sand cats only travel at night and they expertly clean up after themselves to avoid detection. For these reasons, it is incredible the team managed to capture footage of the wild cats.

Remember: while the sand cats are cute, they are wild and do not deserve to be held in captivity as “pets.” Like most exotic animals, they should be left alone — even the team from Panthera kept their distance.

Following are pictures of the adorable wild sand kittens:

Credit: Grégory BretonCredit: Grégory BretonCredit: Grégory BretonCredit: Grégory BretonCredit: Grégory BretonCredit: Grégory Breton

h/t Bored Panda

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