NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville Zoo is excited to announce the birth of three caracal kittens!

The Zoo says the kittens, two males and a female, were born Sunday, April 11 to mother Marula and father Baobab, one of two pairs of caracals living in a behind-the-scenes area at the Zoo.

The Zoo’s veterinary and carnivore teams are hand-rearing the kittens for eventual close-up experiences with zoo visitors.

Guests will be able to see the newborns at HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The kittens will be fed at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“These kittens will become ambassador animals for their species so it’s important to acclimate them to human care early,” said Heather Schwartz, Director of Veterinary Services for Nashville Zoo. “Eventually, they will travel to another zoo to help educate guests about their species, their habitats, and the importance of protecting their environments.”

The Zoo says this is the third litter of caracal kittens born at the Zoo since the arrival of two pairs of adults in early 2020.

With the three newborn kittens, there are currently 36 caracals in AZA-accredited zoos (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), with nine of those caracals at Nashville Zoo.

Two of Nashville’s caracals, Zain and Samir, can be seen on the Zoo’s guest pathways or in the Zoo’s Wild Works Animal Shows.

Caracals are natives across Africa and the Middle East, all the way to India. Caracals also have black ear tufts, their most noticeable feature.

They are extremely agile and are able to jump nine feet straight up to catch birds flying by. Caracals are not considered endangered, but their habitats are being threatened by human development.