Rare Chinese mountain cats captured on video for first time

Breed is listed as an endangered species.

Saturday 27 October 2018 18:54
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Rare Chinese mountain cats captured on video for first time

An infrared camera has captured rare video of three Chinese mountain cats, or Felis bieti, in northwest China's Sanjiangyuan region.

The footage, which is a world first according to CGTN, was recorded in Chindu County in northwest China's Qinghai Province.

Chinese mountain cats have long and dense hair, with a grey or dark yellow colour. Their most obvious characteristics include two dark horizontal lines on the cheeks, four distinct black rings on the tail and a bunch of standing hair on the ears.

"Chinese mountain cats are larger than domestic cats and are very solitary. They usually act alone except during the breeding season," said Lian Xinming, associate research fellow of the Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

"In general, Chinese mountain cats would mate between January and March and then the kittens would be born in May. There are around two to four babies born each time. The cubs usually become fully independent by the age of three months.".

Chinese mountain cats mainly feed on pikas, small mouse-like animals, and birds, and live in deserts, edge of forests, mountain bushes and mountain meadows at an altitude of 2,800 to 4,000 metres.

"The discovery of the Chinese mountain cats and their behaviours indicate that at least the grassland ecosystem in the Sanjiangyuan region is complete. Since the ecosystem is complete, we can look forward to the health and recovery of the system," said Zhao Xiang, project director at the Shanshui Nature Conservation Center.

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Chinese mountain cats are listed as a class II protected wild animal in China and also an endangered species.

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