Oryx



Short Communication

New records of the Endangered Andean mountain cat in northern Argentina


Pablo Perovic a1, Susan Walker c1 and Andrés Novaro a2
a1 Museo de Ciencías Naturales, Universidad de Salta, (4400) Salta, Argentina
a2 Wildlife Conservation Society, Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Neuquén, CEAN, C.C. 7, Junín de los Andes, (8371) Neuquén, Argentina

Abstract

Few published records exist for the Endangered Andean mountain cat Oreailurus jacobita, a rare and little known felid restricted to high altitudes of the Andes of South America. We present 20 new records for the species, and analyse its altitudinal overlap with the sympatric pampas cat Oncifelis colocolo, a widespread habitat generalist, in north-west Argentina. Our data confirm the recent presence of the Andean mountain cat at several locations in Jujuy, Salta, and Catamarca provinces. Nevertheless, densities appear to be much lower than those of the pampas cat. This Lower Risk, near threatened species represented 68% of the records for small cats at high altitudes and its altitudinal range overlapped with the lower 1,000 m of the range of the Andean mountain cat. Protected areas for the Andean mountain cat in Argentina should be above 3,500 m and have a high proportion of habitat above 4,000 m, where the abundance of potential competitors is lower.

(Received May 22 2002)
(Revised October 1 2002)
(Accepted May 6 2003)


Key Words: Altoandino; Andean mountain cat; Argentina; Oncifelis colocolo; Oreailurus jacobita; pampas cat; puna.

Correspondence:
c1 Wildlife Conservation Society, Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Neuquén, CEAN, C.C. 7, Junín de los Andes, (8371) Neuquén, Argentina. E-mail: novawalk@smandes.com.ar


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