November 10, 2010

Asian Golden Cat Rescued From Snare In Malaysia

Malaysian wildlife authorities said on Wednesday that they rescued a rare Asian golden cat that was caught in a snare.

Central Selangor state wildlife and national parks chief Rahmat Topani told AFP that villagers in the south of the state alerted officials late Saturday about the animal, which is known in some countries as a "firecat" because of its reddish-brown fur.

"The cat was caught in a snare which was meant for wild boars but we are concerned because such cats are very rare and usually end up sold for its meat and fur," he said.

"We have examined the cat and its right paw is slightly injured so we are waiting for it to heal before transferring the animal to a zoo in Malacca," he added.

The elusive Asian golden cat is found from Tibet to Sumatra and prefers forest habitats and rocky areas.  The animal hunts birds, large rodents and reptiles.  They have also been known to bring down much larger prey like water buffalo calves.

Officials say they do not know how many of the medium-sized cats remain in the wild, but that their population has been dropping in recent years due to loss of habitat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the cat as near threatened.

Image Courtesy Karen Stout/Wikipedia