Qinghai initiates world's first project to track Chinese mountain cats

The world's first project to track the Chinese mountain cats with GPS collars was carried out in northwest China's Qinghai Province in the Qilian Mountains National Park. 

Qinghai Provincial Administration of Qilian Mountain National Park and Li Sheng's research team from the School of Life Sciences of Peking University launched a survey of Chinese mountain cats in the National Park in 2019 before launching the project. The study was aimed at fully understanding the status of the species in the park. The investigation helped understand the prevailing status of the animal, their population size and mating habits.

After studying the population, Qinghai Provincial Administration of Qilian Mountain National Park initiated the GPS collar tracking project in the park in order to better study the individual activities.

Ten Chinese mountain cats, including seven females and three males, were fitted with GPS collars and released into the wild.

The tracking data of 671 days recording  25,000 valid positioning sites returned. The data revealed that shrub and farmland were their main habitats, accounting for more than 95 percent of all positioning sites.

Their activities peak during dusk. The average home range of an individual is 6.6 square kilometers, and the maximum can reach 19.7 square kilometers. A single individual can travel to a distance of 54 kilometers.

The Chinese mountain cats (Felis bieti), under China's first-class national protection, is endemic to China and has been listed as "vulnerable" by the IUCN Red List. Studies have shown that the species is rare and the distribution density is low, and ecological studies on their physiology, reproduction and feeding habits are scarce.

(Images via VCG)

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