Sunday, 28 October 2012

Zoo confident its newest animal will be a big hit


Her floppy, oversized paws padding silently along, Fierca pranced around the ZooMontana education center on a leash, up onto a table and sitting on command, before her handler gave her a small chunk of beef as a reward.
"A lot of people think you can't train a cat, but you can," said handler Melanie Richard. "She'll be an important ambassador for us."
Officials hope that as the zoo's newest addition, Fierca, a 1-year-old Canada lynx who behaves better than some domesticated dogs, will be as much of a hit with the public as she is with the staff.
With those big paws, small tufts of hair coming out of the tops of her ears and a playful, curious nature, the 25-pound cat certainly passes the eyeball test for that.
"This is one of the most relaxed cats I've ever seen," said Jeff Ewelt, the zoo's executive director. "She's basically bombproof. I really think she'll be a visitor favorite."
The addition of Fierca is a boost for the zoo, which has lost several of its most popular animals since the Association of Zoos and Aquariums pulled its accreditation in spring 2011.

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