The Andean cat is one of the rarest and least-known cats in the world.
The Andean cat is one of the rarest and least-known cats in the world. It lives high in the Andes Mountains and Patagonian steppe, where food is scarce and weather conditions are extreme. This small, sturdy cat is difficult to find—there have been only ten recorded sightings in 25 years—and even harder to study.
The Andean Cat Alliance (Alianza Gato Andino, or “AGA”), which operates across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, the countries where the cat lives, has risen to this challenge. Members of AGA devote their time and energy to saving an animal that most of them may never be able to see. Habitat loss and degradation due to mining, water extraction, unregulated tourism, and inappropriate livestock farming and agricultural practices threaten the cat, as does hunting. These factors are further exacerbated by the effects of climate change. AGA’s programs aim to secure the future of Andean cats and their habitat by directly addressing these immediate threats, while also helping communities improve their quality of life.
AGA was the first to capture and radio collar an Andean cat and uses its increasing knowledge of the cat for conservation education and the growth of protected areas.
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