Bundi: Rusty-spotted cat, one of the smallest cats in the world, has recently been sighted in Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary here.
Also known as Prionailurus Rubiginosus, the cat measures 20 to 30 inches in length and 7 inches height, and weighs not more than one and a half kilograms.
"A carcass of rusty-spotted cat was recorded during a road kill survey in June this year on the survey route of Lakheri-Khatkad-Bundi in the sanctuary," Sunny Shah, coordinator of Western India Tiger Landscape Program, World Wildlife Federation (WWF) said.
The cat is a Schedule I species under Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and has been listed as vulnerable by IUCN in 2002, with population seize of 10,000 mature individuals.
Shah said the hybridisation of rusty-spotted cat with domestic cat and the expanding human settlements into forests have been the main threats to the existence of this species.
Rusty-spotted cat is of a shy nature and prefers to live alone behind rocks, in thick wet forests and in the trees, Shah said, adding, it usually moves out during night.
Sukhdeep Bhattacharya, a wildlife biologist and former senior programme officer of WWF, said research on the cat has remained insufficient as it is found in such small numbers that research studies find it hard to move on with work.
Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), Vijaypal Singh said the presence of the cat in Ramgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a good sign and the efforts for the conservation of the species have been started here.
Wildlife activist Vittal Sanadhay said the presence of the rusty-spotted cat in the sanctuary would certainly add to the prospects of Ramgarh wildlife.
"It is for the first time in my 28 years career as wildlife activist, I have heard for the first time about the presence of this rare cat in the sanctuary," Sanadhaya added.