It’s not every day you turn 10.

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s serval sisters Nanki and Morili will hit the double digit milestone on December 21, and will mark their birthday by enjoying a feast of kangaroo meat.

The pair arrived at the zoo as three-month-old kittens in 2009 and quickly won the hearts of visitors and zoo staff alike with their strong personalities, distinctive ears and long legs.

Zoo keeper Paul Rushworth, who has worked with the siblings since day one, said it has been an amazing experience watching the servals grow up.

Mr Rushworth said the girls each lived up to their respective names, with Nanki meaning “one” or “undivided” and Morili meaning “woman with a fiery tongue”.

“From a kitten, Nanki was always the leader and the first to investigate,” he said.

“And Morili does hiss, but only when she is frightened.

The pair live separately but in enclosures side by side, which gives each some much-needed space and helps avoid any sibling rivalry.

In the wild, servals are at risk of habitat loss and degradation, and are preyed upon in some parts of Africa for their pelts and their supposed medicinal value.


Paul Rushworth with one of the serval sisters. Picture: Werribee Open Range Zoo