Fishing Cats Share Adorable Baby Pics

The twin fishing cats born at the National Zoo last month are growing cuter by the second.

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National Zoo
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National Zoo
The twin fishing cats born at the National Zoo last month are growing cuter by the second.
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They're the first-ever fishing cats to be bred and born in the District, and only 27 of out of 30 fishing cats in North America are considered reproductively viable.
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National Zoo
That's not a picture on the wall! Mom Electra is teaching her kittens to fish.
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Keepers had planned for Electra to mate with another male prior, based on "genetic makeup and social needs, temperament and overall health," the zoo says. But there was no spark between Electra and her intended.
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All was not lost! "By contrast, when keepers introduced [father] Lek and Electra, the cats soon began showing signs of affection, such as grooming and nuzzling," the zoo said.
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Of the 32 fishing cats in the North America pool, only 27 of them are considered reproductively viable. "The new kittens will become valuable breeders because their genes are not well represented in the captive population," keepers say.
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The kittens love to explore and are growing more independent (and squishably cute) every day.
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Electra will let the kittens explore only so far before she brings them back under her close watch," said Animal Keeper Courtney Janney. "Her maternal instincts kicked in right away, and she's proving to be a very adept and confident mother."
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Native to India and Southeast Asia, fishing cats are vanishing from riverbanks due to water pollution, poaching and increased shrimp farming throughout their habitat, the National Zoo says.
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The babies won't make their public debut until later this summer, but you can see dad on on the zoo's Asia Trail.
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