Extremely Rare, Mysterious Cat Caught On Film By Camera Trap

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A photo of an oncilla documents the first-known occurrence of this extremely rare, spotted cat in Madidi National Park, Bolivia. The cat, which is about the same size as a domesticated house kitty, also is now about to become a media star, as the photo this week won a BBC Wildlife camera-trap photo competition.

Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) occur across the Amazon and along the tropical Andes, according to a Wildlife Conservation Society press release. It's the smallest cat species of South America's lowlands, and much about it remains a mystery. WCS researchers Guido Ayala, Maria Viscarra, and Robert Wallace came across the image during camera trap surveys of jaguars and other wildlife living in Madidi, which is considered to be among the most biodiverse protected areas on the planet.

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The photo now serves as a new record for oncilla in Madidi. It pushes the number of confirmed cat species in the park to six, with at least two more waiting to be confirmed.

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Madidi National Park is a truly remarkable and beautiful place. It contains 11 percent of the world's birds, more than 200 species of mammals, almost 300 types of fish, and 12,000 plant varieties. In addition to its impressive biodiversity, the 7,335 square mile park is known for its array of altitudinal gradients and habitats from lowland tropical forests of the Amazon to snow-capped peaks of the High Andes.

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The overall region faces a number of threats, such as road construction, logging and agricultural expansion, but the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program is working hard to mitigate those.

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Wow look at these fangs. Beautiful cat.

November 05 2013 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

GORGEOUS, as are all cats. Protect, respect, and love them all!

November 05 2013 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vicky McDonald

What an amazing and absolutely beautiful cat!!!

November 05 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You were able to film this cat only by the means of over building where the cat lives !

November 30 2012 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This breed should start showing up soon in homes.

November 30 2012 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Beautiful creature! Unfortunately man will bring it to extinction just like he is with many other creatures on this planet. What people don't realize is that we are all connected to nature and the creatures in it. When they are all gone, we will not be far behind.

November 30 2012 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
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