In the field 24/7

Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Juan Carlos Huaranca Ariste, checking camera trap, Ciudad de Piedra, Andes, western Bolivia


This program has two focuses: camera trapping and the collection of material for genetic analysis. Our aim is to fill information gaps in the global distribution map of the Andean cat, and to evaluate the potential impact of diseases and parasites transmitted by domestic animals on Andean cat populations. Camera trapping is a powerful, non-invasive tool for recording behavior and vital information about elusive species such as the Andean cat, and it also provides material to raise awareness of the threats that affect them. We also search for scat during camera trap fieldwork. This is a very arduous task, as scat is very difficult to find and the proportion of Andean cat samples in relation to those of other species is very low. These scat samples provide valuable information on the presence of parasites and diseases, as well as on the genetics of Andean cat populations. This program is equivalent to having several groups of researchers in the field 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, collecting information that allows us to develop adequate monitoring and conservation strategies.

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