Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0905651
The Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita), an inhabitant of high-altitude deserts of the central Andes and southern Andean Steppe, is the most endangered cat species in the Americas. Although a small carnivore, the Andean cat appears to have one of the largest home ranges (Villalba et al. 2009) among other felids of similar size and weight and uses several habitats patchily distributed, searching for refuge, mats and particularly prey. The Andean cat is a top predator, plays and important ecologic role by controlling the populations of its prey.
In spite of the little information on the Andean cat and its requirements, it can be affirmed that the habitat of the Andean cat is naturally fragmented and of high fragility. The specificity of its main prey, the mountain vizcacha, to rocky environments is also possibly a factor influencing Andean cat distribution and population density. The impact of parasites and other diseases on wild cats is not well studied, but it is considered to be a potential detrimental factor for wild carnivore species, and it can have a devastating impact in small populations, influencing survival, reproduction, dispersal and distribution of host populations (Nowell & Jackson 1996). Presence of domestic dogs and cats within the local communities sharing the Andean cat’s habitat is very common, and there is no care for the health of these domestic carnivores. Additionally, there is no information about the type and incidence of diseases in carnivore and rodent populations (rodents being one of the most representative mammals of the Andean zone).
The main objective of this project was to foster the development of basic and applied research in the fields of veterinary medicine and biology under a wildlife and ecosystem health approach, by contributing to the capacity building of the Laboratory of Parasitology in the Bolivian Collection of Fauna.
This equipment will support the Program of Parasitology that we are developing on the premises of the Colección Boliviana de Fauna (CBF). This Program has the objectives of a) establishing the technical conditions for contributing to the advancement of parasitology in wildlife and domestic animals which share their habitat, b) carrying out basic and applied studies in areas of biology, ecology and medicine, c) creating new human resources, and d) complementing the development of other research lines, wildlife management, agroecology, and in general contributing to environmental conservation from the perspective of Conservation Medicine.
Project 0905651 location - Bolivia, South America