A pair of the world's smallest and rarest species of cat have been born at an animal sanctuary in Cornwall.

One of the adorable rusty-spotted cats was spotted for the first time snuggling up to its protective mother at Porfell Wildlife Park near the village of Lanreath.

The rare animals, which only measure around 13in to 19in in body length and at birth are no bigger than mice, are part of the Rusty Spotted Cat Conservation Breeding Programme.

Staff are delighted at the chance to help protect and raise the cute cubs which are normally native to India and Sri Lanka. The genders of the fluffy eight-week-old cubs are not yet known.

A spokesperson said: 'Last summer we had the opportunity to take on a pair of rusty-spotted cats, had an enclosure spare and were excited to have something so rare. 'To our understanding we are estimating that there are only around 50 of this species being kept in captivity across the world.

'The pair came from the Feral - Wild Animal Project run by Todd Dalton and are part of a breeding program.

'They are coming up to eight weeks old and have been well looked after by mum.

'We are unsure of their gender as she's so protective and doesn't let us too near. 'They have only recently been spotted out of their den and seem to be getting more curious each day.

'They both seem very healthy and have started to show a little bit of personality.

'They've been giving our very small team a lot of joy during all this uncertainty and put a smile on our faces each morning.'

The coronavirus lockdown has left the sanctuary facing financial problems and they are appealing for help

Rusty-spotted cats are the smallest wild cat species in the world and very little is known about the cats and their lives. Their bodies are smaller than a domestic cat and their spotted grey and reddish brown fur is short and soft. The rare animals are typically found in India, Sri Lanka and some parts of Nepal.


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