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The African Cat You’ve Never Heard Of

I was used to working in the savannahs of eastern and southern Africa, where the animals I studied roamed in full sight. I was used to the relative comfort and safety of getting around in a 4×4, and my camera went everywhere with me.

afrgoudcat1Then, in 2010, I arrived in the Central African country of Gabon to begin my study on African golden cats in and around Ivindo and Lopé National Parks. For the first few days, I stubbornly kept my camera with me, but soon realised that it was slowing me down.

I could no longer rest it on my lap as I scanned the horizon. I had to carry it for nine hours a day as I surveyed the humid forest on foot, and I had to be ready for a hasty retreat in case I stumbled upon elephants – quite easy to do when visibility is restricted to a few metres by thick vegetation.

Read the complete article:
http://magazine.africageographic.com/weekly/issue-41/african-golden-cat-gabon/

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Cat of the month

Borneo Bay Cat (Pardofelis Badia)

One of the world’s least-known and most endangered wild cats, the bay cat, has been photographed by Panthera grantees Jedediah Brodie (Universiti Malaysia Sabah/ University of British Columbia) and Anthony Giordano (S.P.E.C.I.E.S/Texas Tech University). Their photograph is the first record of this very elusive cat in the Borneo highlands, at 1460 meters (approximately 4,800 feet).

The records add to our very limited knowledge of the species, which was photographed alive for the first time only in 1998 and where most previous records are from dense lowland forest under 800 meters (approximately 2,600 feet).

Borneo’s bay cat is so elusive that it took over a century before researchers got a chance to study a live one in detail. Covered in striking, rust-red fur with white under the tail and face stripes, this cat was officially named in 1874 on the basis of a skull and torn skin sent to England by the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. Naturalists didn’t have a chance to study a live one until a bay cat was captured in 1992, and the cat remains so difficult to find that researchers know very little about how this secretive cat actually lives. The fact that the cat is so difficult to find is all the more frustrating because conservationists list the felid as endangered. The deforestation of Borneo may wipe out the bay cat before scientists get a chance to find out more about it.

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