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One Of The World’s Smallest Cats Caught On Cam At Mangar Bani | Gurgaon News – Times of India

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GURGAON: One of the smallest species of its kind, a rusty-spotted cat (prionailurus rubiginosus) treads on wild grass, and swiftly, walks away in the dark. It was the first time that the cat — one with typically grey-red fur and weighing just around a kilogram — was sighted in Mangar Bani’s forests along the Delhi-Haryana border.
Before this, the near-threatened species, whose population is only found in the Indian subcontinent and its numbers have dwindled due to loss of habitat, was spotted in Rewari last year. Finding the tiny cat isn’t an easy task either. The previous Haryana sightings were in 2014 and 2015 – both in Yamunanagar’s Kalesar National Park.
It was a camera installed by wildlife researcher Sunil Harsana that caught the latest trace of the cat last Sunday, August 20. “The rusty-spotted cat has been spotted here for the first time in Mangar Bani. I saw it on Sunday. It appears for a very short time on the camera trap,” Harsana said.
The researcher has installed nine cameras in and around the Asola Bhati Wildlife sanctuary to the Aravalis of Mangar in a project funded by the Coexistence Consortium. Striped hyena, nilgai, jackal, leopard and Indian golden jackal are among the other wild animals captured on video, he said.
Asked what the rare cat’s sighting in Mangar Bani meant, working group member and Harsana’s mentor Aritra Kshettry said it was a “positive sign”. “These cats are not usually found in human altered habitats. This signifies that Mangar Bani is a vital and vibrant wildlife habitat,” Kshettry, of the Coexistence Consortium, said on Monday.
Ghazala Shahabuddin, ecologist and senior adjunct fellow at Atree, said the sighting was “exciting”.
“Though the Aravalis are degrading, there are still rare species being found there,” he said. The rusty-spotted cat is usually found in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. World over, there are below 10,000 such cats left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Apart from Rewari, the cat was sighted at the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve during the pandemic lockdown and the Sariska Tiger Reserve around three years ago in Rajasthan. They are mostly found in Gujarat’s Gir National Park and in Maharashtra’s Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
As the rusty-spotted cat spends days inside hollow logs and tree trunks, Mangar Bani would be an ideal habitat for them, apart from ample availability of birds and small mammals that it hunts.
“It is an absolute delight that rusty-spotted cats are present in the area.. It shows how conservation of the area has led to creation of a good habitat for wildlife,” said Raj Kumar, divisional forest officer, Faridabad.


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