Indian desert cat spotted in M.P.’s Panna Tiger Reserve

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Indian desert cat spotted in M.P.’s Panna Tiger Reserve

  • For the first time, photographic evidence has been recorded of the Indian Desert Cat in the forests of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Madhya Pradesh.
  • During their night safari, one of the tourists captured the Indian Desert Cat at Akola Buffer of the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Indian Desert Cats

  • Popularly also known as Asiatic wildcats, the Indian desert cats are usually found in deserts.
  • Their characteristics include the ability to survive without water.
  • Further, they also have cushion-like hair on the toes that help them balance the fluctuating temperature in the desert.
  • These cats live mostly in the scrub deserts, at an elevation of up to 2,000 to 3,000 meters, mountains with enough vegetation, and in temperate forests.
  • Even though they can live without water, they can be found close to water sources. In India, the Asiatic wildcat inhabits the Thar Desert.
  • They can also be found in arid and semi-arid zones of Western India including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
  • In 1999, these desert cats were still reported as common in some districts of Bikaner, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, and Nagaur, Rajasthan.
  • Between 1999 and 2006, only four sightings were reported from the Thar Desert.

Threats to Desert Cats

  • Due to their soft fur, these animal species became the prey of hunting for the fur trade. In addition to this, the paw species is also facing the threat of hybridization.
  • Desert cats are being hybrid with domestic cats which can lead to the loss of genetic information.
  • Apart from poaching and human-animal conflict, they face the threat of habitat loss.
  • Protection Status:
  • Its IUCN Red List status is Least Concern.

Panna Tiger Reserve

  • Panna Tiger Reserve is located in Vindhyan Hills in northern Madhya Pradesh.
  • It was established in 1981.
  • The river Ken, a tributary of the Yamuna river, also flows through the reserve and the region is also famous for Panna diamond mining.