The rare marbled cat seen through the camera-trapping method in a forest of Panchthar. Photo: Giriraj Baskota/Republica
PANCHTHAR, Jan 28: The rare marbled cat scientifically known ~IPardofelis marmorata~I, has been spotted in Nepal for the first time in history. A team of wildlife researchers photographed this mysterious cat through the camera trapping method.
It was captured in Yangwarak Rural Municipality-2, Falaicha of Panchthar at an altitude of 2,750 meters. Researchers from Lincoln University, New Zealand and Red Panda Network (RPN) found the existence of this cat as part of a research initiated by a lead author of Red Panda Network (RPN) Sonam Tashi Lama.
"This has been confirmed by the camera footage kept at Red Panda's Panchthar-Taplejung-Ilam(PTI) corridor," said Lama, adding," This is an exciting news for wildlife biologists and conservationists in the country.” The first picture of the cat was captured on January 21. According to Lama, the use of camera traps as a wildlife monitoring technique helped them to take the first picture of this rare cat in Nepal.
With this, the number of species of cats found in Nepal has reached seven. "Cameras are revolutionizing how we detect and count cryptic species," said Adrian Paterson, associate professor of Zoology and Head of the Department of Pest Management and Conservation at Lincoln University, New Zealand and co-author of the research paper. “This is a great example of benefit of the camera trapping method. This will definitely contribute to the protection of wildlife here, “he added.
It took around six months for the researchers to collect details for the research. There are around 107 places in PTI corridor where cameras have been installed to monitor the activities of wild animals. The marbled cat is an arboreal small felid slightly larger than a domestic cat with irregular, large and dark-fringed markings and a long bushy tail.
It is believed that this endangered cat is found in 12 countries of the world. RPN has issued a press release stating that the marbled cat has been photographed for the first time. "This is a great achievement. This is an important finding for future researches," said Lama who is also the coordinator of the network.
A decade ago, RPN had conducted a similar research to find out about this cat but did not succeed. However, it has been successful this time with the help of the camera trapping method.