I had the good fortune of this sighting in the summer of 2017 at Tadoba Tiger reserve. On a morning safari, while driving from a waterhole in anticipation of a tiger, we encountered some movement in the bushes. As we turned off our engine, we saw a small cat appear out of the bush. Initially we thought it to be a jungle cat kitten, but later realized we had just spotted one of the most elusive members of the cat family. But even as we were yet to digest our good fortune, and were photographing her fervently, her two small kittens appeared from behind and joined their mother.
The rusty spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is Asia’s smallest wild cat, listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on IUCN’s red list. The Indian population is listed on Appendix I of CITES.
The Rusty-spotted Cat is restricted to India, Sri Lanka and Bardia National Park, Nepal, bordering India. Habitat loss, fragmentation, deforestation and the rapid spread of agriculture are some of the biggest threats to this predominantly nocturnal wild cat.
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The rusty spotted cat is listed as 'Near Threatened' on IUCN's red list. Habitat loss, fragmentation, deforestation and the rapid spread of agriculture are some of the biggest threats to this predominantly nocturnal wild cat.