INDIA – The rusty spotted cat, which is one of the few wild cats that inhabit the forests of Andhra Pradesh, is among the animals in the Eastern Ghats that need more research support. That is the message researchers are now carrying to a forthcoming Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) meeting to be held in Washington D.C.
Reputed to be the smallest wild cat of all at about half the size of its domestic cousin, the rusty spotted species of cat actually shares its habitat with the tiger.
Both tigers and rusty spotted cats inhabit the Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, which is located in Andhra Pradesh.
The State is one of the few where wildlife enthusiasts are able to study both ends of the cat spectrum in the same sanctuary. Yet, while the tiger is closely monitored, very little at all is known about the status of the rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus). The species has been recorded in India and Sri Lanka, however, it has also been sighted in Nepal also in recent times.
Many wildlife experts seem to describe it as the smallest cat species in the wild, though there are some who say the African black-footed cat qualifies for that status.
The small Indian cat is currently listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List, but its health in the Eastern Ghats is not clear, says Murthy Kantimahanti, founder, Eastern Ghats Wild Life Society (EGWS) . While the cat is known to be present in all forests in the Eastern Ghats, no significant studies have been done, he says.
Mr. Murthy has been invited to the conservation meeting in Washington D.C where he will urge that more research is done on various wildlife species of the Eastern Ghats.
Here is a great video of the Rusty Spotted Cat!