Parental behaviors of Chinese mountain cats were recorded in the Sanjiangyuan area

For the first time, parental behaviors of the Chinese mountain cat were recorded in the Sanjiangyuan area.

Recently, the childcare activities of the endemic Chinese mountain cat, Felis bieti, were recorded for the first time in a site near Tongtian River, Chengduo County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province.

The Chinese mountain cat is the national second-class protected animal in China. It is also one of only two unique carnivores found solely in China, the other one being the giant panda. At present, the Chinese Mountain Cat is seen only in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, and other regions. Due to the species’ elusive nature and limited range, records of their appearance have been minimal for many years. It was only 11 years ago in 2007 that the first photo of a Chinese mountain cat was captured in the wild. It is considered one of the most mysterious felids in the world.

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“From September 20, 2018, one of the infrared cameras deployed in the area of Chengduo County had been recording the breeding nest of a Chinese mountain cat, and it continuously captured the behavior of a Chinese mountain cat mother and two kittens.” Zhao Xiang, the program director of the ShanShui Conservation Center, said. “This survey recorded the activity of a Chinese mountain cat family. The two kittens were 2 to 3 months old, and their mother trained them to hunt preys and perform other skills everyday. Also, the footage was complete.”

The Chinese Mountain Cat is one of the top carnivores in the grassland. They mainly feed on rodents such as pikas and birds. The survey indicated that Chinese mountain cats prey on two plateau pikas every day. Therefore, protecting Chinese Mountain Cats is also very important for maintaining the integrity of the grassland ecosystem.

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“Because the Chinese mountain cat is only found in China, we need to play a more important role in its research and protection,” said Dr. Xiao Lingyun, a researcher at Peking University Nature Conservation and Social Development. He told reporters that currently, the academic community knows very little about their behavior, population status, and other information.

In the future, ShanShui Nature Conservation Center will further cooperate with county officials to conduct long-term evaluation surveys in the surrounding areas to determine the distribution of Chinese mountain cats in the region and threats to the population to implement targeted protection work.

All information and photos come from The China News: http://zdx.forestry.gov.cn/bhxh/640/20181015/000224143262767.html

Translator: Sherry Yao

First edits: Andrea Jia

Final edits: Riley Peng

@Animal Dialogue

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