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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 18:25 GMT
Rare kittens 'one step from wild'
Bengal kitten
The four kittens could be worth over 200,000
A couple who have bred four rare Bengal kittens are hoping to fetch up to 80,000 each for the litter.

Frankie and Pauline Turnock, from near Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, have crossed a Bengal Cat female with an original wild Asian Leopard Cat.

Mr Turnock said there were only about five leopard cats in the world breeding first generation (F1) Bengal kittens.

Bengal kittens several generations removed from the wild strain normally fetch several hundred pounds each.

The modern Bengal originates from a breeding programme in the US in 1960s.

There are about five Asian Leopard Cats that will actually hybridise, that is cross species and mate with a Bengal Cat, and we are very fortunate that we have one
Pauline Turnock
The breeding process aims to keep the domestic temperament along with the wild blood.

Mrs Turnock said the couple's seven week old litter were very special.

She told BBC Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "Apart from being half Asian Leopard Cat, Apollo their father is a brand new UK line of Asian Leopard Cat, which means his blood-line is absolutely unique.

"We have been led to believe that, in total, there are about five Asian Leopard Cats that will actually hybridise, that is cross species and mate with a Bengal Cat, and we are very fortunate that we have one."

'Stunningly beautiful'

Mr Turnock said he believes the kittens are worth between 60,000 and 80,000 each.

He said: "It's a bit hard to take in but we don't really know for sure what they'll be worth until people know that they exist."

Bengal kitten
It is hoped the females will be used to continue the new line
The couple said the litter's sire Apollo, despite his wild heritage, is in no way dangerous.

They said he has been brought up as a Bengal Cat and is timid, nocturnal by nature and very clever.

Apollo does, however, need a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence.

The Turnocks hope to sell the three females to become the foundation cats for a Bengal breeder, while the "stunningly beautiful" sterile male will be sold as a pet.


SEE ALSO:
Shower secret of cat's success
07 Dec 04 |  South East Wales
Cats suffer stress, experts say
27 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Scottish wildcat faces extinction
26 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Owner sought for stowaway kitten
01 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Sheep painted to deter 'panther'
11 Dec 03 |  Scotland


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