Introduction

Little was known about the Andean mountain cat until recently thanks to the efforts of Jim Sanderson Ph.D. who is a specialist on small wild cats and who has carried out a considerable amount of work researching the Andean mountain cat. He was instrumental in setting up the Andean Cat Conservation and Monitoring Center with his Chilean colleagues.

Jim Sanderson's work and the work of other conservationists appears to have lead to a reassessment of the range (distribution) of the Andean mountain cat into areas where the cat was thought not to exist.

There is a also the Alianza Gato Andino AGA. This is a group of conservationists whose mission it is to protect the cat and create a harmonious relationship between cat and local people. It is vital to ensure the cooperation of local people in conservation projects to effect a change in attitude towards this species.

The Andean cat is similar in appearance to the grey domestic tabby cat but distinctly more wild looking. The tail is long and bushy, which is typical of wild cats that use their tail for balance. It is considered to be relatively tame and does not run from people. This is probably due to the fact that it has not been in contact with people enough to fear them. This has endangered the cat's survival because local people have killed the cat with rocks.

As the name suggests, the Andean mountain cat lives in the high Andes. Its habitat is treeless and barren.

The cat lives at elevations above sea level in the order of 4,000 feet. The climate is naturally cold.


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