Asian Golden Cat

1 min read
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Officials of the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in north Bengal said that they were able to capture some pictures of rare and elusive melanistic Asian golden cat in the camera traps.

Why in News?

  • According to the experts, these are the first photographic records of the melanistic Asian golden cat, also known as the Temminck’s cat, from West Bengal.

About Asian Golden Cat:

  • It is a medium sized cat with relatively long legs.
  • Scientific name: Catopuma temminckii
  • Other names: They are known as the “fire cat” in Thailand and Burma, and as the “rock cat” in parts of China.
  • Distribution: The species occurs in Southeast Asia, from Nepal and Tibet to Southern China, Sumatra and India.
  • Habitat: It prefers forest habitats that are interspersed with rocky areas, being found in deciduous, tropical and subtropical evergreen rainforests.
  • Their fur ranges in color from cinnamon to various shades of brown, and also gray and black (melanistic).
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN: “Near threatened”
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972: Schedule 1

Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR):

  • Location: BTR lies in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. 
  • Its northern boundary runs along the international border with Bhutan. 
  • It is the easternmost extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India & represents the highly endemic Indo-Malayan region. 
  • The fragile "Terai Eco-System" constitutes a part of this Reserve.
  • BTR serves as an international corridor for elephant migration between India and Bhutan. 
  • The reserve encompasses as many as eight forest types.
  • Flora: The main species constitutes trees like Sal, Champ, Gamar, Simul, Chikrasi.
  • Fauna: The main species include Asian Elephant, Tiger, Gaur, Wild boar, Sambar,Wild dog (Dhole).


Q1) What are melanistic animals?

Melanistic animals are the opposite of albino animals, which are white, and are animals that have too much melanin in their skin. Melanin is the pigment that affects the skin, hair, and eyes. The abundance of melanin then produces an animal that is either completely or partially black in colour. 

Source: Melanistic Asiatic golden cat captured on camera for first time in West Bengal