The Andean cat, which lives high in the rugged Andes Mountains, is one of the rarest cats in the world. Any new information about the cat is exciting, especially when that information points to the presence of the Andean cat in a region of the Andes where it has not previously been found.
Studies conducted by members of the Andean Cat Alliance showed that there was a high probability of Andean cats living in the Tarapacá Region of the Chilean Andes, a dry, remote area dotted with abandoned mining towns. In collaboration with CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), the organization in charge of the protected areas in Chile, the Alliance set out to determine if Andean cats live in two protected areas in Tarapacá: Isluga and Salar de Huasco National Parks.
Chilean members of the Alliance carried out a camera trapping campaign in both National Parks with the hope of capturing an image of an Andean cat that would confirm the animal’s presence. AGA and CONAF staff members installed fourteen camera traps in different places inside and near those protected areas. The Andean cat appeared at four of the sites where traps were installed, the first records of Andean cats in this region.
This confirmation of the cat’s presence provides a basis for future actions focused on the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat in the Tarapacá region.