Andean Cats

 

Andean Cats are the species of which we (Andean Cat Rescue) are based on. At the moment, we are focused on helping Andean Cats, but may also help other cat species in the future.

Andean Cat fact file

Common name: Andean Cats or Andean Mountain Cats

Scientific name: Leopardus jacobita

Conservation Status: Endangered

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An Andean Cat

Weight: 4 kg

Length: 57.7 to 85 cm (adults, including tail)

Tail length: 41.3 to 48.5 cm

Appearance: Andean Cats are a small wild cat with thick, ash gray fur with brown and dark gray markings.They have a long round tail, which is rather uncommon in wild cat species.Their facial appearance resembles that of its domestic cat relative, and their size also quite resembles a domestic cat.

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An Andean Cat

Distribution: Andean Cats mostly occur at high elevations in the Andes mountain range in Chile, Bolivia and central Peru.

Habitat: The higher elevations in the Andes range is rocky, steep and sparsely vegetated.It is also fragmented by deep valleys.

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A part of the Andes mountain range

Behaviour: Since Andean Cats are so rare and hard to find, little is known about their usual behaviour. However, researchers have found that they have no fear of humans, and will actively come up to humans. This is why they are killed and hunted by the locals.

Threats:

1. Habitat loss and degradation

Areas in which the Andean Cats live are often bombed for mining, and local farmers use inappropriate ways to farm. This has caused habitat degradation in these higher regions of the Andes mountain range, wiping out places tat the Andean Cats and other species could live in.

2. Local superstitions and traditional hunting

Since Andean Cats hold no fear of humans, they are killed easily because locals believe that it is good luck to kill an Andean Cat immediately after they see them. Some locals also believe that they harness evil spirits inside them, because animals are usually afraid of humans. After the Andean Cats are killed, they are generally stuffed and put in local shops for good luck, and sometimes also used as lucky necklaces.

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Andean Cats used in religious ceremonies

3. Loss of prey base

The main prey of Andean Cats are mountain viscacha, a small type of rodent similar to rabbits. Mountain viscacha live in patchy groups, and due to habitat degradation, it is becoming harder and harder for Andean Cats to find their prey.

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Mountain viscacha