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African golden cat – rare capture on video

by Nicole
August 30, 2011 at 5:31 am

Scientists have captured a video of one of the most elusive animals in Africa: the African golden cat (Caracal aurata).

Little is known about this African feline that is rarely observed in the wild.

The images were captured by a camera programmed to activate when it detects motion, placed in a Gabon forest. The images show an African golden cat, a species that is known contact with people and live in hard-to-access parts of the forests of central Africa.

“As far as we know, it’s never before been filmed (in the wild) for … the public domain,” says Luke Hunter, president of Panthera, an environmentalist group responsible for most of the funding for the team that filmed the African feline.

The images captured and other data collected by scientists could contribute to a better understanding of this species.

Laila Baha-el-in, the leader of the researching team, is planning to obtain information to help preserve the species.

“I don’t think I can put (capturing the video) into words,” Bahaa-el-din said of the rare video. “I live and dream golden cats most days. To get back to camp and put the (footage) on the computer and have this cat basically posing for the camera, it’s incredible. I watched it five times in a row and pretty much didn’t sleep that night.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the animal as “near-threatened”, saying that not only is it very rarely seen in the wild, but it is “ Africa ‘s least studied felid.”

“Until now, if you read things on the Internet and in (scientific) literature, they’re called nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn or dusk),” Bahaa-el-din explains. “But a large number of photo captures I get are during the day.”

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