Welcome
into the
world of the
magnificent
cats

Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus Jacobita)

The Andean Mountain Cat is the most endangered small wild cat of America. The body length ranges from 57 to 64 centimetres (22 to 25 inch), the tail length is 41 to 48 cm (16 to 19 inch), the shoulder height is about 36 cm (14 in) and the body weight is 5.5 kilograms (12 lb).

It is one of only two felids for which no subspecies have been classically described. They cannot live in captivity. All Andean mountain cats died as soon as they were captivated. Fewer than 2500 individuals are thought to exist. This cat is one of about two dozen small wild cat species found around the world. Unlike their larger cousins, such as lions and tigers, with millions of dollars dedicated to conservation efforts, small wild cats like the Andean Mountain Cat have not found a place in the hearts of the public, and conservation efforts exist on budgets in the thousands.

The Andean Mountain Cat’s preferred high-elevation montane habitat is fragmented by deep valleys, and its distribution is likely to be further localized by the patchy nature of colonies of its preferred prey, mountain viscachas. The total effective population size could be below 2,500 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to loss of prey base and habitat, as well as to persecution and hunting for traditional ceremonial purposes, and no subpopulation having an effective population size larger than 250 mature individuals.

While the Andean Mountain Cat’s main prey likely is the mountain viscacha, it is also probable that mountain chinchillas were previously important prey of the Andean Mountain Cat, before their populations were drastically reduced due to hunting for the fur trade. Since it lives only in the high mountains, human-inhabited valleys act as barriers, fragmenting the population, meaning that even low levels of poaching could be devastating. It is often killed in Chile and Bolivia because of local superstition.

Sanderson is still heavily involved with the Andean Cat. With coworkers Constanza Napolitano, Lilian Villalba, and Eliseo Delgado and many others in the Andean Cat Alliance, the Small Cat Conservation Alliance (SCCA) has forged conservation agreements with Fundación Biodiversitas, a Chilean non-profit organization, and CONAF, the government agency responsible for managing national parks and production forests. CONAF has agreed to allow the SCCA to renovate a building for the Andean Cat Conservation and Monitoring Center on their already functioning compound at San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.

Villalba of the Andean Cat Alliance conducted a major research program, including radio-telemetry studies, from 2001 to 2006 in the Khastor region of southern Bolivia. Exclusively for Wild Cats Magazine she and her colleagues wrote THIS ARTICLE.

One Response to Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus Jacobita)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


 For Dutch visitors

Help us save wild cats worldwide!

donate2

 

Photogallery
precious_caracal_nina  
Cat of the month

Lion (Panthera Leo)

The lion is one of four big cats (genus Panthera). After the tiger it’s the second largest living cat in the world. Wild lions currently exist in Sub- Saharan Africa and a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India (Gir forest), having disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia in historic times. Not many people know that also the African lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a possibly irreversible population decline of 30 to 50 per cent over the past two decades in African countries. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern.

Visually, the male lion is highly distinctive and is easily recognized by its mane. Lions are the only members of the cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism-that is, males and females look distinctly different. They also have specialized roles that each gender plays in the pride. For instance, the lioness, the hunter, lacks the male’s thick cumbersome mane. It seems to impede the male’s ability to be camouflaged when stalking the prey and create overheating in chases. The color of the male’s mane varies from blond to black, generally becoming darker as the lion grows older. Darker-maned individuals may have longer reproductive lives and higher offspring survival, although they suffer in the hottest months of the year. In prides including a coalition of two or three males, it is possible that lionesses solicit mating more actively with the males who are more heavily maned. Lions live for around 10-14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than ten years, as injuries sustained from continuous fighting with rival males greatly reduces their longevity.

Read more...