Rare Asian golden cat spotted in northeast Thailand

Yesterday, Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary posted photos on Facebook of a rare Asian golden cat spotted strolling through a road in Chaiyaphum province in northeast Thailand.

In the Thai language, the Asian golden cat is called Suea Fai (Fire Tiger). The species is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss and illegal poaching.

The wildlife sanctuary said the photos were taken in February by photographer Jirawan Khlaithong. The sanctuary educated the public about the threatened species…

“The Asian golden cat is a medium-sized tiger with a strong shape. It has rather long legs, a smoothly-coloured torso, and some patterns. 

“[The wild cat] is a reddish-brown colour, similar to the colour of a barking deer. At first glance, you may think it is a barking deer. Some Asian golden cats have black, brown or grey patterns and distinctive stripes on their faces above their eyes. They have long tails, and the bottom of the tail is always white. The belly and underneath the tail are also white.

“It is nocturnal and hunts alone on the ground. The Asian golden cat’s favourite foods include rats, rabbits, baby barking deer and small birds.

“They are found in evergreen and mixed forests. The cats have a gestation period of 100 days, giving birth to one or two babies at a time (so we rarely ever see baby Asian golden cats).

“They weigh around 12-15 kilograms, which is quite light.”

As well as Thailand, the Asian golden cat is found in eastern Nepal, northeastern India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, southern China, Malaysia, and Sumatra.

In May, tourists spotted an endangered black panther rolling around like a domestic house cat in Kaeng Krachan National Park. Later that month, another tourist spotted an endangered black panther sitting on the road near the park.

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