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Pardofelis temminckii temminckii

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Asian Golden Cat


The Asian Golden Cat (Pardofelis temminckii, previously been placed in genera Catopuma, Profelis and Felis), also called the Asiatic Golden Cat and Temminck's Golden Cat, is a medium-sized wild cat (length 90 centimetres/36 in, plus 50 centimetre/20 in tail) weighing from 12 to 16 kilograms (26 to 35 lbs). In captivity this species can live up to 20 years, but its average lifespan in the wild is likely far shorter. While the fur is mostly foxy red or golden brown, black or grey colour variants may also be found. Normally, the coat is plain, save for some spots on the underside, and sometimes very faint spotting on the rest of the coat. However, in China there is a colour variant with leopard-like spots, which resembles a Leopard Cat. This spotted fur is a recessive characteristic.


Pardofelis temminckii temminckii from Sumatra (Photo by Bonnie Kelly)



Distribution and habitat


The Asian Golden Cat lives throughout Southeast Asia, ranging from Tibet and Nepal to Southern China, India, and Sumatra. It prefers forest habitats interspersed with rocky areas, and is found in deciduous, subtropical evergreen, and tropical rainforests. The Asian Golden Cat is sometimes found in more open terrain. It ranges from the lowlands to altitudes of up to 3000 meters in the Himalayas.


Behavior

Not much is known about this rather elusive predator, and most of what is known about it has been found out in captivity. Previous observations suggested that it is primarily nocturnal, but a recent study on two golden cats showed arrhythmic activity patterns.[2] It is thought to be primarily solitary. As far as vocalizations go, it can hiss, spit, meow, purr, growl, and gurgle. Other methods of communication observed in captive golden cats include scent marking, urine spraying, raking trees and logs with claws, and rubbing of the head against various objects.

Mythology

In some regions of Thailand the Asian Golden Cat is called Seua fai ("fire tiger"). According to a regional legend the burning of an Asian Golden Cat's fur drives tigers away. Eating the flesh is believed to have the same effect. The Karen people believe that simply carrying a single hair of the cat will be sufficient. Many indigenous people believe this cat to be fierce, but in captivity it has been known to be very docile and tranquil.

Subspecies and conservation

The exact population of the Asian Golden Cat is unknown, but it is listed on "CITES: Appendix I" and as "Lower Risk/Near Threatened" by the IUCN. It is hunted for its fur and, increasingly, for its bones in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the greatest risk posed towards the species is habitat destruction. There are few of these felines in zoos, and they do not breed well in captivity.

There are three subspecies:
* Pardofelis temminckii temminckii, Himalaya, Southeast Asian mainland, Sumatra
* Pardofelis temminckii dominicanorum, southeast China
* Pardofelis temminckii tristis, southwest China


Source : Wikipedia

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