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Small Cat Conservation Alliance
Rongrah Village, Sichuan
Jim with Chinese
mountain cat skins
Chinese mountain cat
Why is the Chinese mountain cat special?

China has the most cat species in the world - 13.  The Chinese
mountain cat neither occurs in deserts nor in forested mountains but
in high altitude grasslands called alpine steppe.  The cat has never
been studied in the wild.  The Grass cat, as it is locally known, lives in
the great Tibetan grasslands of Qinghai and Sichuan Provinces.

Breaking news (3 May, 2007): Interviews at our study site in
Rongrah Village, Hongyuan County, Sichuan suggest that local
pastoralists have stopped killing wild cats. Several people showed us
locations where they saw Chinese mountain cats during the winter.  
We believe our study site is a high value conservation area. We have
hired a well-known local hunter, Achu, to become our paid local
camera trapping technician. Camera traps are deployed now and will
be monitored by Achu until we return in July.

Threats: We previously learned that local Tibetan pastoralists poison
the cats for their rich winter coat from which traditional hats are
made. Yaks are grazed near the village in winter.  This allows
pastoralists to pursue the Chinese mountain cat by following the
tracks in the snow to the daytime den. Poisoned meat is left at the
den entrance. The cat emerges from its den at sunset and eats the
poisoned meat. The lifeless body is collected the following day.  
Dinner at Drubgyal's family
home, Rongrah Village
Ahchu, a local hunter turned
camera-trapper
Chinese mt cat country
camera trap team in the field
Chinese mt cat country