Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 17th, 2009
Rare and unique photographs of an African golden cat (Profelis aurata) have been taken.
One of the most elusive of all wild cats has been photographed deep in the jungle of Uganda.
Three images of a wild African golden cat were taken by a digital infrared camera trap set up by biologist Dr. Gary Aronsen of Yale University in the US.
To his knowledge, just one other image of a wild African golden cat has ever been published [from the wild, taken in the Democratic Republic of Congo].
Although taken in black and white, the new photos reveal this particular golden cat actually has a dark coat.
The cat is so rare few researchers working in African forests have seen it….
~ Matt Walker of Earth News
Anecdotal evidence suggests that while many villagers and locals may see the cat crossing roads, or maybe raiding domesticates, there are just not that many researcher sightings. We’re usually looking for other things.
There is very little known about this felid, what kind of habitat it prefers.
It is spread across equatorial Africa, but it is cryptic and we presume solitary, making observations few and far between.
The golden cat is melanistic, meaning that its colour varies over its lifetime, and across the continent.
I was disappointed that the cameras could not give me more data on [the cat's] colour, but the images suggest it is a ‘dark phase’ cat.
For the most part, the cameras capture amazing images of elephants, monkeys, chimpanzees, duiker and buffalo. The cameras also can record movies, so you can see multiple animals in a group, such as chimpanzees.
That meant that the camera was located within the cat’s core area.
Given that three images were captured within an old-growth patch, I’d say that the Kibale golden cats may prefer this habitat. But the range of any cat is large, and so they can go anywhere to hunt.
~ Dr. Gary Aronsen, Yale University
Aronsen’s report and photographs are published in the African Journal of Ecology.
Thanks to the news tip to Cryptomundo from correspondent Mike Olshan.
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