Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Save the ASian Golden cat

The Asian golden cat(Pardofelis temminckii )also known as Temminck's Golden Cat it belongs in the kingdom Animalia ,class Mammalia order Carnivora , and family Felidae . a wild cat of medium body size. Weighing approximately thirty pounds, the cat roughly equals a small dog in size, with an average length of four feet including the tail. Found in southeast Asia from Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Assam, Sichuan, Yunnan, Thailand and Malaysia down to Sumatra, Temminck’s golden cat lives in deciduous and tropical rain forests, and occasionally more open habitats. It is said to like wooded areas interspersed with rocky tracts. In parts of China it is known as “Shilului”, the Rock cat, and has been found as high as 2,000 meters (Of Cats 2008).

The habitat of the golden cat is generally dense tropical and sub-tropical forest although in the Himalayas the cat can be found at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. After a gestation of approximately 80 days, a litter of 1-3 kittens is born, with 1 being the average. Newborns weigh approximately 8.75 ounces at birth. Eyes open around 9 days and they are weaned at around 6 months. They reach sexual maturity around 18-24 months for females, and around 2 years for males. Asian Golden CatA secretive and solitary predator, the Asian Golden Cat is believed to hunt mainly at night. Birds, lizards, rodents and small ungulates are reputedly taken. Scavenging has also been recorded though larger animals including wild boar and young buffalo calves are also reputedly hunted at times - the felines operating in pairs to bring them down (Garman 1997).

Problem

The main threat to the Asian golden are deforestation and hunting for its pelt and bones that are being increasingly utilized in Chinese traditional medicines. The cats don't breed well in captivity and are currently classified as vulnerable. The Asiatic golden cat is widely reported as uncommon and threatened by deforestation. Major threats also include hunting for their pelt and bones. Livestock predation, which usually leads to persecution, has also been reported.

The Asian golden cat is prominent in ancient Asian folklore. Traditional local legend says that carrying even one hair from their pelt will protect the bearer from other dangers. Villagers in the cat’s home range still believe these animals have magical, mystical powers. Locals believe that burning the Asian golden cat's pelt will protect their village by driving tigers away. Their meat is considered a delicacy, with the entire animal being consumed and the bones ground up for home-made remedies to ward off fevers and other such ills. Unfortunately these unfound myths have been handed down from generation to generation. These unfound beliefs persist to this day in Asia and are one of the primary reasons for their dwindling population (Shorter 1).

Solutions

Educating the Asian people about the realities of the Asian golden cat is one possible solution. New laws cpuld be created to prevent its hunting since it’s allowed in Laos, Bhutan and Brunei.


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