Little is known about the Andean cat. That’s largely because the species, which prefers a solitary existence high in the Andes and Patagonia mountains, has only been spotted a few times in the wild. There are perhaps 2,500 individual Andean cats left in the world, according to the World Conservation Union’s Red List of endangered species. And that number is on the decline.
And yet, every so often, the world gives us reason to be optimistic about a threatened creature.
Like these newly released images.
The Alianza Gata Andino (or Andean Cat Alliance) has captured photos via remote critter cam of a young Andean cat and its mother in northern Chile. These are the first pictures with a camera trap of the fluffy, absurdly cute cat in the region.
“New pictures of Andean Mountain Cat with cameras trap, this time a child and his mother! …. Besides being a delight to our sight and a huge joy, this type of photos, delivers us valuable information about the conduct and reproductive biology of the species, as well as the mating season and birth of offspring,” the group noted on Facebook.
Here’s the other photo. Two long tails, which scientists figure are used for warmth as the cats wrap them around their bodies while they sleep.
The Andean Cat Alliance unites experts from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru to learn more about – and hopefully save – the elusive cats, which are threatened by fragmenting habitat and a declining supply of mountain viscacha, a rodent that serves as its main prey. It was the first organization to actually capture and put a radio collar on one of the rare cats. That’s helped biologists understand the critter and inform conservation efforts of the most threatened feline in the Americas.
Photos Alianza Gato Andino/Facebook