The finding represents a range extension for the Andean cat, which normally occurs at altitudes above 3,000 meters (approximately 9,800 feet). The new survey presents evidence of the cats occurring at elevations as low as 650 meters (approximately 2,100 feet) on the Patagonian steppe. The species is listed as “Endangered” on the World Conservation Union’s Red List and may number only 2,500 individuals throughout its entire range.
The study appears in the recent edition of CATNews. The authors include: Andres Novaro and Lorena Rivas of the Wildlife Conservation Society and CONICET, Argentina; Susan Walker of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Rocio Palacios of Alianza Gato Andino; Sebastian di Martino of Department of Protected Areas of the Province of Neuquén; Martin Monteverde of Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Neuquén; Sebastian Canadell of Universidad Nacional de Cordoba; and Daniel Cossios of Université de Montréal.
“These confirmed records show the lowest elevations ever reported for the Andean cat,” said WCS conservationist Andres Novaro, lead author of the study. “According to genetic studies underway led by Daniel Cossios, this new population appears to represent an evolutionary lineage distinct from the highland population.”
Prompted by a lone photograph of two Andean cats in the foothills of central Argentina, the research team surveyed approximately 31,000 square kilometers (approximately 12,000 square miles) of Argentina’s Mendoza and Neuquén provinces in 2007-2009. The team collected samples from several locations that included scat, skulls, and skin, all of which were confirmed with DNA analysis. In addition, the researchers conducted surveys with inhabitants of the region. The conservationists also found evidence of three other small cat species: Geoffroy’s cat, pampas cat, and jaguarundi.
The Andean cat’s range extension coincides with the known distribution of the mountain vizcacha, a rabbit-like rodent that inhabits both the Andes Mountains and Patagonian steppe and is the Andean cat’s primary prey.
“Discovering a new population of Andean cats is an important finding for this elusive and rare species,” said Mariana Varese, Acting Director of WCS’s Latin America and Caribbean Program. “Determining the range of the Andean cat in the Patagonian steppe will provide conservationists with a foundation for later conservation plans.”
Threats to the newly discovered population of Andean cat include goat herders who assume the felines are preying on their livestock, oil exploration activities that destroy habitat, and new roads that open up formerly inaccessible areas to poachers.
Critical support for this study was provided by Panthera, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Network, and the Whitley Fund for Nature. WCS is grateful to the following for their partnership: the Department of Renewable Natural Resources of Mendoza and the Department of Protected Areas of Neuquén provinces.
WCS’s programs and activities in the region are generously supported by the Butler Conservation Fund and the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation.
John Delaney | Newswise Science News
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research