India: Save the Rusty Spotted Cat!

A team of wildlife enthusiasts spotted a rusty-spotted cat, one of the
most endangered species and the world’s smallest cat, at
Devrayanadurga reserved forests in Tumkur district, on Friday evening.
The rusty-spotted cat is found only in India and Sri Lanka and
measures only 14-17 inches in length. It weighs less than 1.5 kg
(females weigh less than 1 kg).

Rusty-spotted cats are mostly found in
dry deciduous forests as well as scrub, and are arboreal (living on
trees). This wild cat mainly hunts small rodents, birds and lizards.
“This cat is faced with threat of extinction due to habitat loss and
the spread of cultivation. There have been occasional reports of
rusty-spotted cat skins in trade, or of them being killed for food or
as livestock pests.

This animal is protected under Schedule I of
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and is classified under Appendix I of
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Flora and Fauna (CITES), banning trade of this animal to protect it
from extinction,” said Sanjay Gubbi, assistant director, Wildlife
Conservation Society, India Program. Gubbi was part of the team in
Devarayanadurga. He added that the sighting of this rare cat is
another reason to protect the 42 sq km reserved forests of
Devarayanadurga which is host to other wild animals.
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