By Veer Vaibhav Mishra (Naturalist), India
Dear Michael, Greetings from Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India!
I am very glad to share information with you and am sending a short note and photograph of the rusty-spotted cat. Kindly find enclosed a report of my sighting of the rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) in Kutch, Gujarat.
Rusty-spotted cat, (Prionailurus rubiginosus) – a new mammal for Kutch-Gujarat. 15 species of wild cats are found in India. Kutch district is having Caracal (Kutchi name Harnatro), Jungle Cat (Kutchi – Jung Mino), Desert Cat (Kutchi Ran Biladi), Leopard (Kutchi- Dipdo, Chitro).
*New Cat: rusty-spotted cat, (Bitari Billi or Biladi). The names of ‘Rusty-spotted Cat’ is derived from specific spotted rusty skin markings on the cat’s body. The cat is also known as chat rougeatre, chat rubigineux (French); Rostkatze (German); gato rubiginosa, gato rojizo (Spanish); bitari billi (Gujarati: India); kaadu bekku (Kannada: India); pakkan (Malayalam: India); wal balalla, kolla diviya, handun diviya (Sinhalese:Sri Lanka); namali pelli (Tamil: India); and Kadu Poona, verewa puni (Tamil: Sri Lanka).
On 12th Feb 2013 at 8.07 pm, in Banni in Chhari-Dhand bird conservation area, I was checking the rocky area called Bird rock. I got eye shine under the small bush I spotted a small
cat was sitting on a rock. I took some images of the wild cat. I found this species very interesting as its size was very small. Very long tail and White belly.
The cat was identified as rusty-spotted by me and it was confirmed by Mr. Jugal Tiwari [ Sr. Scientist and Founder of a Wildlife Conservation Trust CEDO] in Kutch and Dr Shomita Mukherjee, a principal scientist of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History. Dr. Mukherjee confirmed it as a Rusty cat. The NEWS was shared with the Deputy conservator of forests P A Vihol, Kutch West division. He expressed his joy and congratulated me and for important discovery for Kutch. This cat is one of the smallest wild cats of India. Talking about the Rusty spotted Cat in Gujarat In the past it has been spotted in Surpaneshwar in south Gujarat and by Bharat Pathak in Gir forest.
Kunal Patel is studying this species Rusty Spotted Cat, (Prionailurus rubiginosus) in Reserved Forest of Kevadi, Nirav Bhatt had photographed it in Gir forest, Kartik Upadhaya had also photographed this nocturnal cat in Jambhughoda wildlife Sanctuary. Rusty-spotted Cats are found in the Indian subcontinent, mainly in south India, some parts of Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir and Sri Lanka. It preys on small birds and mammals, and is known to eat insects, reptiles and frogs. Primarily nocturnal, they rest in dense cover during the day. Partly arboreal, they are accomplished climbers. Finding Rusty spotted Cat in Kutch is first time and it is a very important record and an addition to the mammalian fauna of Kutch district. North west Gujarat Thanks to Kutch forest department and Mr. Jugal Tiwari Sir for all the
encouragement and support.
Thanks in Advance sir, looking forward to here from you.
Best Regards Veer Vaibhav Mishra (Naturalist ), Centre for Desert and Ocean Kutch-Gujarat, India
This map shows where Kutch Gujarat is: