03/14/2012 11:54 am ET

Crystal, Endangered African Black-Footed Cat, Born in New Orleans (VIDEO)

In a breakthrough for the assisted reproduction of endangered species, Crystal, an African black-footed cat, was born early last month at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, the Times-Picayune reports.

According to the paper, a domestic cat was the surrogate mother for the vitro fertilization which, according to acting director of the center Earle Pope, proves embryos of the endangered species can be successfully implanted into domestic cats.

"Being able to use domestic cats adds another extra dimension to that, being able to produce more," Pope told the Times-Picayune.

The African black-footed cat population is declining due to loss of habitat as well as a decline in population of the prey they hunt, according to the Associated Press.

With only about 10,000 of them left in the wild, the African black-footed cat -- which gets its name from its "distinctive black foot pads" -- is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.