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Geoffroy’s Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi)

Geoffroy’s Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) is probably the most common wild cat in South America. Although it appears to be plentiful, some conservationists are concerned because Geoffroy’s Cat is hunted extensively for its pelt. The conservation status is near threatened.

Geoffroy’s Cat is about the size of a domestic cat. Its fur has black spots, but the background color varies from region to region; in the north, a brownish yellow coat is most common. Farther south, the coat is grayish. Melanism is quite common both in the wild and in captivity. They primarily prey on rodents, small lizards, insects, and occasionally frogs and fish; it is at the top of the food chain. There have been attempts to breed this cat with domestic cats, but with very little success. Lots of domestic cats were killed in these attempts.

The Geoffroy’s Cat is named after the 19th century French zoologist étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire who identified Geoffroy’s Cat as a different species when he studied his work as a professor of zoology in Paris, France. The species inhabits the Andes, Pampas (scrubby forest parts), and Gran Chaco landscape.

 

 

Geoffroy’s Cat is about 60 cm (24 in) long, 31 cm (12 in) tall and weighs only about 2-4 kg (4-9 lb), though individuals up to 8 kg (18 lb) have been reported. Pregnant females appear to take extra care in choosing where they give birth to their kittens. Geoffroy’s Cat kittens develop very quickly and at about 6 weeks they are fully mobile.

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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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