Rare cats spotted in NW China

XINING (XINHUA) – Infrared cameras have captured rare footage of Chinese mountain cats in Qilian Mountain National Park in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, the park administration said.

The cameras recorded five Chinese mountain cats, including a female and four cubs, which appeared to be having fun and playing on scrubland at an altitude of around 3,000 metres.

Also known as the Chinese desert cat, the wild cat is under second-class national protection.

A total of 65 infrared cameras were set up by a Chinese mountain cat investigation team from mid-May to mid-June this year to monitor the species. Researchers retrieved 45 memory cards that recorded the videos of the species and other wildlife in late July.

The survey, launched in November last year, was co-conducted by Peking University and the Qinghai section of the national park. “For a long time, the species was rarely spotted due to its secretive nature and small population,” said Liu Yanlin, who is in charge of the team.

According to Liu, it is rare for one female Chinese mountain cat to successfully raise four cubs at once, indicating that the food chain in the Qinghai section of the park is complete.

The food for animals at the top of the food chain is sufficient, and the reproduction rate of the felines is relatively high. Qilian Mountain National Park, one of China’s pilot national parks, covers 50,200 square km, including 34,400 square km in Gansu Province and 15,800 square km in Qinghai.

File photo by an infrared camera shows a Chinese mountain cat with its two kittens in Sanjiangyuan area, northwest China’s Qinghai Province. PHOTO: XINHUA