The sand cat is a wild feline that lives in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates. Looking much a like a domestic cat, the small breed had not been seen by humans in more than 10 years, and many experts thought it might have gone extinct. Recently, three sand cats were spotted on a camera after being attracted to tasty snacks left out by scientists.
The scientific team that saw the cats was provided by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency. One of the group, Shakeel Ahmed, explained that sand cats are very difficult to spot in any circumstance because their coats provide camouflage with the desert environment.
The animals also have a stealthy walk that leaves only a very faint track afterward. Once the cats reveal themselves, they are easily identified by a ruff of extra coat around the head and thick fur on the feet that helps them navigate through shifting sand.
The team was relieved to learn the cats were simply very talented at staying out of sight and were not extinct. The group will continue to watch the cats in order to develop a protected habitat for them as well as educate people about sustainable living and environmental conservation.