Andean Cat (Oreailurus jacobitat)
The Andean Cat Alliance has two priorities. The first is to learn the cat’s range, numbers, and ecology. The team hikes the mountains and monitors camera traps to find and count the cats. So little is yet known of the cat’s behavior, that sightings depends on luck. The second priority is community education. The group makes presentations to students, ranchers, and communities members across the vast territory occupied by the cats. The education goal is to encourage communities to practice sustainable agriculture and land use that will preserve the cat’s habitat.
The human population of the Andes is growing. The rate of loss of the Andean Cat’s habitat isn’t known, and after 15 years of organized effort, the size and stability of the cat’s population isn’t known. Like most species of wildlife worldwide, the Andean Cat could slide away into oblivion before we even understand how and where it lives.
What can we do? There are many opportunities to give money and volunteer time to survey and study wildlife. There are also many opportunities to urge management of the principal cause of the cat’s decline: human population and its environmental impacts.
This film by the Wildlife Conservation Network describes the 15-year effort by scientists, students, and volunteers to protect the Andean Cat.
Thanks to Fighting For Hope’s Blog for pointing out the film.