Saturday, June 14, 2014

Meet the Andean Cat!

This may be the cutest, most cuddly-looking wild cat yet! But the best adjective for the Andean cat could be "elusive". Leopardus jacobita is one of the most endangered cats in the world. None are known to be in captivity, and sightings in the wild are extremely rare. 


ARKive video - Andean cat - overview

"Essentially nothing is known about the biology and behaviour of the Andean cat"

Since the range of the Andean Cat coincides with the chinchilla,

and they've been seen hunting chinchillas and a related animal 

called a viscacha, it's known that they eat them. What else they eat 

is a matter of conjecture for now. There have been only 10

 sightings of the Andean cat in the last 25 years (by scientists).

Photo by Jim Sanderson, ARKive

One look at this cat's fur and you might guess it lives in the cold, 

and you'd be right. Andean cats live above 4000 meters, above the 

tree line, in extreme cold year-round. Although it is cold, it's 

considered semi-desert, as you might guess from the landscape in

 the short video above.

Wildlife Conservation Network

Photo by Jim Sanderson, ARKive

I found a brief reference to one individual being radio-collared and 

the data indicating these cats may be nocturnal, though most 

sightings have been during the day. This data is being collected by 

the Andean Cat Alliance, part of the Wildlife Conservation 

Network.

Photo by Jim Sanderson, ARKive

Threats to Andean cats are habitat loss and hunting. The indigenous  

people of the Andes believe these cats to be sacred, and hunt them. 

They use dried and stuffed specimens in religious festivals. This 

actually is a significant threat, since a majority of local people said 

in interviews that they had hunted these cats.

6 comments:

  1. He is gorgeous. I have a hard time putting together the notion that people would think this cat to be sacred, yet they kill them? Hmm.

    I answered your questions about the bear over at my blog but here are the answers just in case you can't visit. ---- That is "Tiny" in the first bear photos. He is a speciman! As for the little girl - the problem is that they change so fast when they're small that I sometimes stop being able to recognize them as they grow up. So, I hesitate to name them until they're adults.

    Sows start reproducing as young as 2 years old but that's only in areas with lots and lots of good food. Around here, I have the impression that they aren't ready until they are 3 or 4. Mountain habitat isn't super calorie rich. Thanks for the questions!

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  2. beautiful cat,hard to believe the the locals hunt something that is sacred,xx Rachel

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  3. We agree it is sad that they are hunted.

    Happy Farther's day to your daddy and have a lovely serene Sunday.

    Best wishes Molly

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  4. I hadn't heard of the Andean Cat until now. Thanks for posting this item.

    10 sightings in the last 25 years sounds bad. I hope that is because they are nocturnal and have learned to stay out of the way of humans, i.e. that there are many more of these animals than we think.

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  5. Well they certainly are very pretty. If they are so rare, I wouldn't think the people could catch very many of them... hopefully not anyways.

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  6. They are so beautiful! How sad that they are being hunted and their numbers are so low.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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