• Recently, an Indian Desert Cat has been spotted for the first time in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).
  • The Indian Desert Cat is also known as the Asiatic Wildcat or the Asian Steppe Wildcat.

Important points:

  • It is usually a creature of the Thar desert in Rajasthan, and inhabits scrub desert areas.
  • The cat occurs in arid and semi-arid zones of western India which includes Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra up to Pune and Nagpur.
  • This cat is found in deserts and can survive without water.
  • The toes of the species have cushion-like hair which help it balance the fluctuating desert temperatures.
  • It can be found mostly in scrub deserts, up to 2,000-3,000 m elevation, mountainous areas with sufficient vegetation, as well as temperate forests.
  • The Asiatic wildcat usually occurs close to water sources but can also live in low-water areas. It does not seem to avoid cultivated areas and human settlements.
  • It avoids vast deserts, dense forests and deep snow.
  • It possesses beautiful soft fur, hence, most sought after in the international fur trade.
  • Hybridisation with domestic cats can lead to the loss of genetic information and is thought to be one of the main threats. Hybridisation was reported from Pakistan and Central Asia and is most likely also a problem in India.
  • Another important threat is from poaching related to conflict with humans.
  • Habitat destruction and reduced habitat quality remain important issues. The Asiatic wildcat is under heavy pressure due to land use changes.
  • Rodenticides and other chemicals may also threaten it.


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