Rare Cat Caught on Film

The Chinese mountain cat is photographed in the wild for the first time.

Posted: September 1, 2007 5 a.m. EDT

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Courtesy of Jim Sanderson, Yin Yufeng, Drubgyal, and Ahcu
The Chinese mountain cat is a secretive, nocturnal animal.
A remote camera set up on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in China’s Sichuan Province has captured eight images of what scientists call the “elusive” Chinese mountain cat. The camera was triggered by the cat’s body heat.

The photographs represent the first time the species has been photographed in the wild, Jim Sanderson said in a report by National Geographic. Sanderson, a cat specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Network, led the team that captured the rare photos. Sanderson and his team hope the new images will uncover some of the Chinese mountain cat’s habits.

“There’s no interest in its conservation because it’s poorly known,” Sanderson says, “but now perhaps this will change.”

Chinese mountain cats are closely related to the wildcat and jungle cat, being slightly larger and heavier than domestic cats. The coat is sand colored with black rings on the tail. Nocturnal hunters, the cats prefer rodents and birds.

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Reader Comments

Alexis    St. Louis, MO

3/10/2011 10:48:22 PM

I think this article will change how we think of the feline world by giving us more info on endangered big cat species. Domestic cats are a bit overpopulated while there are extremely rare big cats that would love us to donate to their sanctuaries. I hope some people take responsibility and do!

Sammi    Bloomington, IN

9/6/2007 6:48:17 AM

Great article! I love discovering a cat I knew nothing of before. Awareness will lead to conservation, hopefully. The devotion to the goal of cat conservation by those mentioned in the article is amazing and inspiring.

Tricia    Fort Wayne, IN

9/4/2007 10:54:59 AM

I never heard of these cats before, but I hope you get more info.

Cheryl    Minneapolis, MN

9/3/2007 9:20:52 PM

Very intersting!

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