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Jungle Cats » Jaguarundi

Otter Cat-Jaguarundi-Eyra Cat

English Common Names: Otter Cat, Jaguarundi, Eyra Cat.

Spanish common Names: León Breňero, Leoncillo, León de la Montaňa Pequeňo, Gato Colorado, Gato Moro, Tigrillo.

Scientific Name: Herpailurus yagouaroundi.

Survival Status: This cat is not particularly sought after for its fur, but it is suffering decline due to loss of habitat and an increase in competition for prey with the Ocelot whose numbers are rebounding. Most biologists believe that it is already extinct in southern Texas. Because of their large territory requirements most experts believe that other than in the mega wildlife reserves of the Amazon Basin there are not sufficiently large enough protected areas to permit viable populations of Jaguarundis in the future. Their IUCN status as of a 2008 assessment is “Least Concern” which puts it in the same class as the Puma and Ocelot but many experts claim that this needs to be reevaluated. For many years this cat was thought not to be endangered because it was more frequently seen relative to the other felines. Researchers clearly believe that this was not because it was more common but because it is diurnal and therefore more easily spotted during the day.

The IUCN Conservation status order is as follows: 1) Least Concern 2) Near Threatened 3) Vulnerable 4) Endangered 5) Critically Endangered 6) Extinct in the Wild 7) Extinct

Characteristics: In appearance the Jaguarundi is unlike any other cat and shows resemblance to a large weasel or otter, hence its English common name ‘Otter Cat’. About the size of a domestic cat, they have very small heads, short ears, short legs and a tail almost as long as their body. They also have many different color variations including pure black, gray, brown and chestnut red. The two predominant color variations were once thought to represent two distinct species; the gray/black one called jaguarundi, and the red one called eyra. However, these are the same species and both color variations may be found in the same litter.

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