Three wild leopard cat cubs were found in Kuocangshan District, Linhai City, east China's Zhejiang Province. The trio is currently staying at the Taizhou Bay Wildlife Park under the watchful eye of experts.
A local resident named Wang found the cats in a cave when he was looking for honeysuckles. He brought them home with the intention of selling them at a local market. However, his daughter suspected them as leopard cats according to the special pattern on their fur, and then called police.
Leopard cat cubs in a box. (Photo: Chinanews)
The police immediately contacted the city's natural resources and planning bureau and had the cats, which are under second-class state protection in China, transferred to the bureau.
After consulting with experts online, the bureau came to the conclusion the cubs were wild leopard cats.
A wild leopard cub. (Photo: Chinanews)
As the cubs had not been fed in nearly 20 hours, Linhai City's officials decided to send them to Taizhou Bay Wildlife Park, a facility with experience breeding leopard cats.
Experts are identifying a leopard cat cub. (Photo: Chinanews)
Taizhou Bay experts came to find that all three cubs were female and born within the past seven days. They immediately prepared dog milk, probiotics and other nutrients to help the cubs regain strength. The cubs are being taken care of well by experienced breeders.
"Leopard cats are nocturnal creatures and they are afraid of people by nature. They normally will hide when they hear people's movements, so there are few opportunities to meet them in the wild," Xiang Ningyu, head of wildlife protection at the Linhai City Natural Resources and Planning Bureau, explained.
A leopard cat cub is fed by experts at Taizhou Bay Wildlife Park. (Photo: Chinanews)
Leopard cats are the only wildlife species that could be found in Zhejiang Province. Other species related to leopard cats, such as clouded leopards and golden cats, now habitating in Zhejiang have not been spotted in 10 to 20 years.
Linhai City has rescued 41 wild animals this year, including snakes and rare birds.