TIGER CAT (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     20th April 2024        

Context: The recently discovered clouded tiger cat, a new species found in Brazil, faces threats from deforestation and illegal hunting.

Tiger Cat

  • About: Also known as the oncilla, cats are small spotted cats that quietly stalk Central and South America, perfectly adapted for clambering in trees and hunting small prey.
  • Size and Shyness: They are among the shyest and smallest wild cats in the Americas and much smaller than most domestic house cats.
  • Classification: Until recently, they were split into two species: the northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus), and the Atlantic Forest tiger cat (Leopardus guttulus).
  • Habitat: The northern tiger cat is native to the savanna and shrublands of the Guiana Shield and central Brazil.
  • Habitat of Atlantic Tiger Cat: These cat lives further south in forested areas of central to southern Brazil, down through Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.
  • New Species: Researchers recently concluded that the family includes a third species: the clouded tiger cat (Leopardus pardinoides).

Clouded Tiger Cat

  • About: It is a new species of forest-dwelling tiger cat.
  • Scientific name:  Leopardus pardinoides.
  • Geographic Distribution: Found in the cloud forests of the southern Central American and Andean Mountain chains. Ranges from Costa Rica through Panama, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, to Argentina.
  • Features: A long-tailed cat with short, round ears, weighing around 2.27 kg.

o The head resembles that of a margay, covered in dense, soft fur.

o The fur has a rich reddish/orangish/grayish-yellow background color.

o Adorned with irregularly shaped medium-large ‘cloudy’ rosettes that are strongly marked and often coalesce.

o Distinctively, it has only one pair of mammae/teats.

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