Cloned wildcats deliver first kittens

Aug. 22, 2005 at 1:28 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Researchers at the Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans have announced the birth of eight wildcat kittens from three cloned parents.

The births at the institute's Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species are said to mark the first time two unrelated clones of a wild species have bred naturally to produce healthy babies.

Officials said the births advance the science of high-tech reproduction for endangered species by confirming clones of wild animals can breed naturally, making critically important contributions to shrinking gene pools of animals near extinction.

The eight kittens, born in two litters during the last month, were reported doing well Monday and are to go on exhibit later this year at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

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