Cat News Nr 61


Help us keep them lively!

The Cat Specialist Group has a new website and the Group is now on Facebook, too! Although I assume that this is not really sensational news (hopefully no news at all) for most readers of Cat News, we would like to properly introduce these two outreach windows, as their launches were big events for us. Making the new website kept us busy for almost two years. (To be honest, “us” is not really justified in my case, as Christine was in charge of both projects.)

But we would like to use this editorial to cordially thank all those who have been helping with the new website, above all our assistant Tabea Lanz, the designer Barbara Surber, the programmer Dieter Lehmann, and Roland Bürki and Elizabeth Hofer, who have reviewed the texts. Patrick Meier from Innflow has sponsored the technical making of the website. Patrick is also providing many of the splendid cat pictures we use on the website or in Cat News, together with other great photographers who are supporting the Cat Specialist Group: Sebastian Kennerknecht, Neville Buck, Steve Winter, Laila Bahaa-el-din, David Mills and many more. Many members of the Cat Specialist Group have contributed or reviewed text and provided photos specific information about their cats and projects.

Although we will do our best to keep thewebsite up-to-date (and are grateful for all hints on outdated information!), it is not meant to be a news website. The Project of the Month will be reactivatedand renewed regularly, although some of our month may be pretty long. We invite Cat Specialist Group membersto use this opportunity to present their conservation projects! To distributerelevant news on cat conservation or related issues, we have launchedthe IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Facebook site. As the Cat Specialist Group is a non-profit organization,visitors do not need to be registered to access the site. Simply click on the Facebook logo on the homepage of the Cat Specialist Group website to readnews on cat conservation. But many of you are anyway already registered. We will cover news from all over the world, but we would like to increasingly use the Facebook site to share information about the Cat Specialist Group and the activities of our members with a wider public. So please help us promoting cat conservation by spreading warnings and hopes across the globe!The website and the Facebook site are conceptuallytied to Cat News. We get an increasing number oforiginal articles submitted to Cat News, and we willgive those the preference over “news from around theworld”. News and featured articles will increasingly be distributed through the Facebook site.

Urs Breitenmoser

Mapping wild cat roadkills in southern Brazil: baseline data for species conservation by L.G. da Silva, J. J. Cherem, C. B. Kasper, T. C. Trigo and E. Eizirik

Although roads are often important sources of impact on wildlife, adequate surveys of this threat are still lacking for many regions. In southern Brazil, the dense road network and intense cargo flow are potential threats to many mammals, including felids. This region contains two major biomes (Atlantic Forest and Pampas) and is a hotspot for felids, with eight different species (jaguar Panthera onca, puma Puma concolor, jaguarundi P. yagouaroundi, pampas cat Leopardus colocolo, oceolot L. pardalis, Geoffroy's cat L. geoffroyi, southern tiger cat L. guttulus and margay L. wiedii). To investigate the spatial occurrence of roadkilled felids in this region, we assembled a database containing 178 recent records from all eight species. Spatial patterns varied among species, in some cases corroborating known differences in habitat association, while others provided novel insights on their distribution. Moreover, the results illustrate the magnitude of felid roadkills in this region, and highlight the need for further research as well as conservation actions addressing this problem.

Record of two jaguar cubs suckling from their mother in the wild by I. Thomson, S. Arroyo-Arce and F. Spooner

A seven minute camera-trap video of two male jaguar cubs Panthera onca suckling from their mother was captured on 7 December 2013 in Tortuguero beach, Costa Rica.The video was obtained as part of the long-term monitoring program of this species conducted by Global Vision International in Tortuguero National Park since 2011.

Occurrence of Geoffroy’s cat in the Iguaçu region, Brazil: Surprise or inevitable result? by A.-S. Bertrand and A. Newman

Geoffroy's cats Leopardus geoffroyi are known to be associated with open areas and shrub lands in South America. Yet, a Geoffroy's cat was found in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest Eco-region, near Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Later, DNA analyses conducted on feces samples in the same area reinforced the evidence of the concealed presence of the species. We discuss here the possible reasons of its occurrence in this region.

Recent records of jungle cat in Turkey by P. Gerngross

Four recent confirmed records of the jungle cat Felis chaus are not within the range given by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN. This indicates that the distribution of the jungle cat in Turkey is still far from being clearly defined.

A long distance dispersal of a male Iberian lynx by P. Sarmento, P. Gomes, F. Caim, M. López-Parra, J. M. Sáez, L. Fernández, R. Sanabria, A. Valero, G. López, M. A. Simón

In May 2013 an adult Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus male was detected by game keepers in an estate located on the south west coast of Portugal. Later, this animal was identifiedas Hongo, a lynx from the population of Doñana, born in 2011, which was captured and equipped with a radio-collar in 2012, with the last radio-tracking detection on 26 of October 2012. During one year this lynx was studied in its new territory using camera-trapping and sign surveys. Unfortunately, the collar failed and it was not possible to obtain better information. But, we obtained enough evidence to conclude that the lynx concentrated its activity in the sand dunes habitats. The dunes are covered with shrubs and have high rabbit density. Upcoming actions will include the capture ofthe individual for changing the radio-collar and camera-trapping in new areas where there is some preliminary information on lynx presence. This could be critical for improving the management of the species in the current reintroduction scenario.

Status of the common leopard in Afghanistan by Z. Moheb and D. Bradfield

For decades there had been no confirmed sightings of the common leopard Panthera pardus in Afghanistan. However in 2011, a Wildlife Conservation Society WCS cameratrap team working in the province of Bamyan managed to capture images of a Persian leopard P. p. saxicolor near the mountainous areas that make up the central highland region. With almost no accurate data on leopard numbers, population trendsremain unknown. Using these images during a wildlife field survey, local community residents in two other provinces reported the presence of the same leopard species. Years of conflict in Afghanistan have affected most large wildlife populations, including other big cats and leopard prey species, but its cryptic nature and adaptability have enabled it to persist. Despite being a protected species under Afghan law, leopards remain at very low numbers and under considerable threat.

First photo of snow leopard from Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Sikkim, India by S. Khatiwara, T. Srivastava and A. Kumar

We report the first ever photo-documentation of the elusive snow leopard Panthera uncia in Sikkim Himalaya, India. Camera trapping in the study area i.e. Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary was conducted between November 2012 and December 2013. The species was photo-captured at 3,765 m in October 2013. We recommend intensive surveys to further validate the actual distribution range and population status of the species within its unexplored distribution range.

Camera traps reveal Amur tiger breeding in NE China by T. Wang, H. Yang, W. Xiao, L. Feng, P. Mou and J. Ge

Evidence of Amur tiger Panthera tigris altaica reproduction in the wild is very scarce in China. A camera-trap record from 6 November 2013, outside Hunchun Nature Reserve in northeast China's Changbai Mountains, provided the first videotaped evidence of a female Amur tiger with 4 cubs in the wild. Such reproduction occurrence records give a promising sign that the tiger population is recovering in China and are key to the guidance of future transboundary conservation planning along the China-Russia border.

Recent photographic records of the leopard cat from northern Western Ghats, India by G. A. Punjabi, A. Paranjape and A. A. Shetgaonkar

The leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis has a widespread distribution across Asia. We describe two recent photographic records of leopard cats from the northern Western Ghats in India. One individual was sighted and a video documented in Mahabaleshwarat 23:00 h on 19 February 2014, and two individuals were photographedin Dajipur, Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary at 20:49 h on 21 March 2014. These are likely to be the first photographic records from these areas in the northern Western Ghats. They are important from a conservation stand-point as the Western Ghats leopardcat population may be isolated from the rest of its range.

Diurnal activity of leopard cat in Rajaji National Park, India by A. Saxena and A. Rajvanshi

The leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis is a small felid that is known to have a widespread distribution throughout India. As the activity pattern of the species is strongly nocturnal, it has been rarely seen or photographed during daytime. A photographic record of a leopard cat active during mid-morning hours in the Rajaji National Parkis presented here. No earlier daytime camera trap or visual records of the leopard cat have been reported in this region.

Observation of a juvenile fishing cat in Bangladesh by H. A. Rahman and J. L. McCarthy

The fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus is a globally endangered cat species which also occurs in Bangladesh. In December of 2013 a fishing cat kitten was captured by villagers nearby Kulaura town in Moulovibazar district. We examined this kitten and observed it's behavior for four days in a row. This incident confirmed the species existence in north-east Bangladesh. Because of the vast wetland areas in the northeast, Bangladesh may play a significant role as a stronghold for this endangered cat.

Albinism in jungle cat and jackal along the coastline of the southern Western Ghats by R. Sanil, T. T. Shameer and P. S. Easa

Albinism was observed in jungle cats Felis chaus and jackals Canis aureus along the coastline of the southern Western Ghats. This is the foremost report of occurrence of albinism in jungle cats and jackals in the wild. The coastline tract of the southern Western Ghats has its major share in the state of Kerala. Albinism was observed in jungle cats from the Amaravila area of Trivandrum district in the Kerala State. Albinismin jackals was observed from the Polooni area in Malappuram district and Chaliyam area of Calicut district. The evidences were obtained from camera traps placed to monitor the small carnivores of mangroves and wetlands in this area. In true albinos the eyes are suggested to be red, but this trait was not obvious in the present study. Albinism has previously been described in many mammals from the Indian subcontinent. As albinism is observed in those areas where the density of these mammalsis comparatively low, it is concluded that continuous inbreeding could be the reasonfor expression of albinism.

Sightings and distribution of rusty-spotted cat in Gujarat State, India by R. Vyas and K. Upadhyay

Over the last fifteen years (1999 to 2013) we recorded 11 sightings of rusty-spotted cats Prionailurus rubiginosus in central and southern Gujarat State, India. Of these, seven sightings were within protected areas, three from reserve forests and one from open scrublands combined with agricultural fields. This habitat is composed of hilly terrain with dry deciduous forest, scrublands, large boulders and agricultural fields, with a moderate human expansion. The most important habitat and forest blocks for the species in Gujarat are the reserve forests which act as corridors between the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ratanmahal Wildlife Sanctuary. The existing data and sighting records from Gujarat State show that the species distribution in the state is wide and scattered.


Supporting Online Material

Figures 1 - 5

Clouded leopard co-exist with other five felids in Chitwan National Park, Nepal by B. Lamichhane, M. Dhakal, N. Subedi, C. P. Pokheral

Once believed to be regionally extinct in Nepal, the clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa, was recorded in 1989 and again in recent years with two new photographicevidence from Annapurna Conservation Area and Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park in 2011 and 2012. This year we recorded photographs of three individual clouded leopardsfrom two locations in Chitwan National Park using camera traps. With this record, Chitwan National Park is one of the few parks in the world with six felid species i.e. tiger Panthera tigris, common leopard Panthera pardus, clouded leopard, fishing cat Prionailurus viverrinus, leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis and jungle cat Felis chaus.

Felid species in Intanki National Park, Nagaland, India by S. Longchar, Q. Qureshi and Y. V. Jhala

Two species of felids - clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa and leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis - were photographed by camera traps in Intanki National Park, Nagaland, India in 2013. This is the first record of these felids in Nagaland from a research based work. All the photographic captures were located in moist deciduous forest. In a tribal region like Nagaland where animals are hunted for consumption resulting in loss of many species, the photographic record of live wild species rather than a dead skin hanging is indeed a rare treat.


Supporting Online Material

Figure 1 and Table 1

Opportunistic sampling of felid sightings can yield estimates of relative abundance by C. Borries and A. Koenig

Likely due to their often solitary and nocturnal lifestyle we still know comparatively little about wild cats and every additional information is important. During the courseof our study on the Phayre's leaf monkey population Trachypithecus phayrei crepusculusat Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Thailand) we recorded all felid sightings (N= 117) for 7 consecutive years. It took more than 3.5 years before all 8 cat speciesknown to occur in the sanctuary had been encountered. With 80.3% of all sightings the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis was the most abundant species, 3 species accounted for 7.7 - 2.6% each, and the remaining 4 species were encountered less than 2% each. With two exceptions these results matched the published recordsbased on camera-trapping and life-trapping. We suggest that similar datasets shouldbe generated by colleagues involved in long-term research.

The rare flat-headed cat and other felids in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia by P. C. Gardner, L. Ambu, H. Bernard and B. Goossens

We present new observations of all five species of wild felid captured using large high-density camera trapping grids installed in Tabin Wildlife Reserve between the months March 2011-October 2012. This includes areas in the eastern part of the reserve that have never been surveyed before using the camera-trapping techniques. Camera trapping surveys within each grid were conducted for at least 12 weeks andran continuously over 24 hrs ensuring all individuals were captured. Our captures indicate secondary lowland dipterocarp forest is inhabited by all species of felid andevent data augment the little information available on the bay cat, marbled cat andflat-headed cat, the latter which was only previously recorded in Tabin on one occasion. Our capture of the flat-headed cat extends the known eastern range of this species.