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Precious princess: East Japan zoo names sand cat cub Amira

Amira the sand cat cub is seen at Nasu Animal Kingdom on July 22, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the zoo)

NASU, Tochigi -- The first sand cat cub ever born in Japan has been named Amira, meaning "princess" in Arabic, by the zoo where she is on display in this eastern Japan resort town north of Tokyo.

    The zoo, Nasu Animal Kingdom, asked members of the public to propose names for the cub and received a total of 12,285 entries. Officials selected Amira as her name in the hope that she will become a noble princess of the zoo.

    Sand cats, nicknamed "angels of the desert," are some of the smallest wildcats in the world. Amira currently measures about 25 centimeters in length and weighs some 920 grams.

    As Amira has been gaining in popularity among visitors, the zoo is limiting viewing time by issuing numbered tickets to guests in a bid to prevent novel coronavirus infections.

    (Japanese original by Seiichi Yuasa, Otawara Local Bureau)

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