|Iriomote Cat © PoC |
This small wildcat is a subspecies of the Asian Leopard Cat.
|Scientific name: |
Prionailurus bengalensis ssp. iriomotensis
|Japanese name: Iriomote-Yamaneko|
A central part of the description of this cat is the place where it lives as it is named after that place. The Japanese island of Iriomote (284 km²) is off the Taiwanese coast. Here is a Google map showing where the island is:
The island was once joined to the mainland (some 200,000 years ago) and this is how the Iriomote cat arrived in this area and eventually became isolated.. Here is a nice general view of the island:
|Iriomote Island – photo by akqp 2 (Flickr)|
The Iriomote cat is perhaps the world’s best studied wildcat with 130 cats being radio collared1. Yet despite this the cat remains on the edge of extinction in the wild.
Here is a nice picture of this wildcat..err yes, it’s stuffed, what else do you expect! This is a “Critically Endangered” and extremely rare small wild cat and I think it is appropriate to show this cat stuffed because before long that is probably all you will ever see of it. “Cars, hotel development, and the threat of a deadly frog fungus are pushing one of the world’s rarest wildcats closer to extinction, conservationists warn . . .”1 Its status as critically endangered is because its population is less than 250. In fact it is probably less than 100. In 1994 its population was estimated (estimates are almost invariably inaccurate and optimistically so) at about 100, but there has been a declined due to loss of lowland habitat at accelerated rates2.
|Stuffed Iriomote Cat – Photo by James Farnham (Flickr) |
|Road side sign warning of this wildcat |
|Habitat destruction on Iriomote Island |
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