CAMERA TRAPS REVEAL SECRET LIVES OF RARELY STUDIED SMALL CATS
31, Mar 2019
Prelims level : E & BD – Animal Species Mains level : GS III - Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Northeast India is home to nine wild cats, including the ‘standard four’:
- The clouded leopard
- Asiatic golden cat
- Marbled cat and
- However, very little is known about these cats in this region at present, such as what times of the day they are most active or how they do not out-compete each other for resources despite living in the same ecosystem.
- Analyses of activity patterns showed that
- Asiatic golden cats and marbled cats were strongly diurnal, The clouded leopard largely crepuscular and nocturnal, and The leopard cat mostly nocturnal.
- The activity times of the marbled cat and leopard cat did not overlap much, in areas where they occurred together and otherwise.
- The leopard cat is a small wild cat native to continental South, Southeast and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it is widely distributed although threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range.
- Historically, the leopard cat of continental Asia was considered the same species as the Sunda leopard cat.
- As of 2017, the latter is recognised as a distinct species, Leopard cat subspecies differ widely in fur colour, tail length, skull shape and size of carnassials.
- Archaeological evidence indicates that the leopard cat was the first cat species domesticated in Neolithic China about 5,000 years ago in Shaanxi and Henan Provinces.