Rare rusty cat killed

A speeding car killed a rusty spotted cat, at Bandipur.  photo by Rakesh Gupta

The rusty spotted cat is an endangered species. The International Union of Conservation Network (IUCN) estimates their number at below 10,000 in the world.  It weighs around 1.5 kg (female weighs between 800 gm to 1 kg) and is identified with its three-striped forehead, thick tail and ash coloured spots. The cat had not been sighted in Bandipur National Park in the past.

    Rakesh Gupta, a wildlife enthusiast and photographer, who witnessed the feline getting knocked down by the speeding car around 7 pm, said the cat was crossing the road.  
“There were reports of its existence, but we had never sighted it. This is unfortunately first record of sighting this cat,” said a wildlife expert.

This nocturnal animal is shy in nature and thrives on small birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians. However, not much is known about its behaviour or population.

    The nearest relative of this species is the leopard cat which weighs up to 3 kg. This is only the second sighting of rusty cat in the State and the third in the Country. The earlier one in the State was by wildlife biologist Sanjay Gubbi at Devarayanadurga near Tumkur early this year, while the other sighting was at Maharashtra.

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