To say the Marbled Cat of Southeast Asia is mysterious would be an understatement. In fact, everything we know about the Marbled Cat comes from one study of a single female Marbled Cat in Thailand. That’s why the videos recently taken by a series of trap cameras in China are so important to our understanding of the species.
There are estimated to be more than 10,000 Marbled Cats living in the wild, and in China they are considered critically endangered. Known by their scientific name Pardofelis marmorata, this is one of only two species of cat that can turn its feet backwards, allowing it to be more agile in the trees. Their tails also point straight back behind them to help keep balance while climbing. It is likely that they eat birds, though much is still not known about the Marbled Cat.
The new video shows that these house-cat-sized felines do walk on the forest floor to get around, and they also spray to mark their territory like other cat species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature says that the Marbled Cat’s population is likely going down due to forest loss from agriculture and palm oil plantations. Hopefully more videos like the one that was captured will help scientists learn more about this species and how to protect it.
The Marbled Cat isn’t the only interesting elusive cat in the wild. Check out the 10 rarest cat species in the world.
What is your favorite rare cat species? How do you think we should protect the habitats of endangered felines like these? Let us know in the comments below!