Several Borneo marbled cats, also called bay cats, were captured on film in a Borneo rainforest. Scientists with the Zoological Society of London and Imperial College London said they captured photos of four rare cat species. Three of the species are in danger of extinction.
The cat species include the Sundra clouded leopard, the leopard cat, the flat-headed cat and the marbled cat. The scientists were stunned, as the forest is being heavily damaged by the logging trade.
Researcher Dr Robert Ewers said it was assumed that animals could not survive in heavily logged forests. As reported by Nature World News, the Borneo marbled cats have proven them wrong:
“… we now know this land can be home for many endangered species… Our study today shows solid evidence that even large carnivores, such as these magnificent bay cats, can survive in commercially logged forests.”
As reported by Live Science, camera placement may have aided in capturing the rare cats on film. While camera traps are often placed in strategic locations, the London team tried a new approach. Instead of planning the cameras’ locations, they were randomly placed throughout the forest. Researcher Oliver Wearn explains that “randomly placed cameras have a big influence on the species recorded.”
Borneo marbled cats were first captured on film in 2003. Conservationists took photos of the rare cats on two other occasions in the last 10 years. However, very few photos of the elusive species are known to exist.
As reported by Big Cat Rescue, the species is similar in size to common household cats. They usually range between five and 10 pounds. Their fur is either chestnut-red or a shade of gray and they usually have faint black markings on their fur. The cats’ tails are distinctive, as they are long and have a white stripe along the underside. The tips of their tails are pure white.
Although Borneo marbled cats have never been fully studied, genetic analysis was performed on one female specimen, which was captured in 1992.
Are you surprised these extremely rare cats have managed to survive under difficult conditions?
[Images via Wikipedia]