A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World
The first Andean cat and Pampas cat captured and radiotagged in Argentina
By Mauro Lucherini
To understand the reasons for the Andean cat rarity, our team started live trapping at Vilama, NW Argentina, in September 2011, but 46 days later -when we stopped fieldwork- we had only been able to catch a young Pampas cat, too small to wear a collar.
Thus, in May 2012, when the trap alarms went off five hours after activating them, we were surprised to find an Andean cat! This was the second specimen of this species to be live trapped ever. Even more unexpectedly, a week later we captured a Pampas cat. In spite of the low temperatures, with the support of Andrew Mutlow, a vet from San Francisco Zoo, we were successful at safely collaring and releasing both cats. We are using collars that enable on-board storage of positions obtained through a GPS receiver. If the equipment had worked properly, we would have finally learnt a lot more on the spatial ecology of these small cats. Unfortunately, the self-release mechanisms of both collars failed a couple of weeks after each capture.
At the beginning of September we started a new trapping campaign and we are in the field at the moment, with the company of Dave Kenny, a vet from Denver Zoo. The latest news is that two female Andean cats and a female Pampas cat have already been collared. Hopefully, these collars will work better than the previous ones!
More news from Patagonia: Cashmere for Andean Cats!
By Susan Walker
In July, 2012, a group of goat herders in northern Patagonia, the Grupo Costa del Río Colorado, received Wildlife Friendly© certification of their cashmere from the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, with support from the WCS Patagonian and Andean Steppe Program. The group members promise not to kill Andean cats and other small cats (Geoffroy’s cats, pampas cats, and jaguarondis), and to manage their goat herds sustainably.
For now this cashmere will be available only to hobby spinners and knitters, but we are looking for companies that wish to use Andean cat-friendly cashmere to build partnerships for increasing production and incorporating more goat herders, in order to expand the protection that this unique luxury product provides to the southernmost population of Andean cats.
Strengthening capacities to protect the Andean cat, Bolivia
By Gabriela Aguirre
In order to strengthen the capacities of rangers of the Integrated Management Natural Area (ANMIN) Apolobamba (La Paz, Bolivia), three training workshops in field techniques for surveying carnivores and monitoring vizcachas were carried out this year. The first workshop addressed for the first time, concepts and sampling techniques, with emphasis on Andean cat, pampas cat and vizcachas; during the second workshop, several field practices were carried out, emphasizing on obtaining information on the presence of carnivores by identifying footprints and counting vizcachas from direct observations. The third workshop included analysis of data collected by the rangers, and an evaluation of the knowledge acquired.
This type of training, that involved data collection and analysis by the same rangers, has motivated them to continue activities and understand the need and importance of monitoring for conservation of endangered species. The project also helped in identifying vizcachas sites and its categorization according to their abundance; information and research that will raise more concrete conservation actions.
Good news from Chile: First photo-captures of Andean Cat in the Tarapacá Regio
By Nicolas Lagos
The last camera trapping survey at the Tarapacá Region, in northern Chile, brought good results for our team. In four of the eleven camera traps stations we could take photo-captures of Andean cats, confirming its presence in this region, in an area of approximately 400 linear kilometers were there was no evidence of its presence before. All of those new records are inside the CONAF protected areas, the National Parks “Salar de Huasco” and “Volcán Isluga”, bringing good news for the conservation of Andean cat populations in the long term. Thanks to CONAF and especially to Jorge Valenzuela and their valuable support in this project.
A parasitological study of Andean Cat and Pampas cat in Nor Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve (RPNYC), Peru
By Ursula Fajardo
The RPNYC is located in the departments of Lima and Junin in Peru, and is one of the few natural areas of the Peruvian State that protects typical habitats of the high Andes, where the presence of two small felines was confirmed. As part of field campaigns carried out between 2007 and 2008 to gather information on the Andean cat distribution in the RPNYC, fecal samples were collected and subsequently were used for parasitological studies. As a result of these analyzes, helminth eggs (parasitic worms) typical of carnivores were found, all recorded for domestic and wild cat species, including species distributed in South America.
This research is the first one carried out in Peru for both species, contributing with basic information about the diseases that can affect them. In addition, some species of parasites registered are of interest in human health, so this type of study in areas of contact between wildlife and human population, will allow identify the main health risks in each area. The results of this research will be presented at the Third Congress of the Peruvian Society of Mammalogy (http://www.iiicongresospm.org/), which will be held between 14 and 18 October, in the city of Piura, Peru.
Andean Cat Alliance is a multinational and interdisciplinary network for the survival of Andean cats and their habitats through research, conservation, community participation and protected areas’ support.