Elusive Andean Mountain Cat Caught On Camera In Chile

Researchers have waited 25 years for confirmation that Andean cats lived in Chile’s Los Flamencos National Reserve.

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The secretive cat was caught by a motion-sensing camera in a new location. Via Alianza Gato Andino/Facebook

Elvis. Aliens. Bigfoot. People who do Crossfit but don’t talk about Crossfit all the time. There are so many things that are supposedly out there in this great, wide world of ours, but there isn’t any photographic or video evidence to prove it. The Andean mountain cat used to fit into this same category because — although they were rumored to live within the boundaries of Chile’s Los Flamencos National Reserve — the secretive species had never been seen in that territory.

For 25 years, researchers believed that the cats lived on those rocky slopes, but they were never able to capture the mysterious felines on camera, according to Earth Touch News Network. (In fact, they are rarely captured on camera anywhere in the wild.) That all changed earlier this month when a motion sensor camera trap captured a mother Andean mountain cat and her cub, filming them as they played for more than two hours.

Like many house cats, the Andean Mountain Cat is rather camera shy. Via CONAF/Twitter

Like many house cats, the Andean Mountain Cat and her baby like to lounge in the sun. Via CONAF/Twitter

The elusive cats are (obviously) one of the least researched species of feline, although it is believed that there are less than 2,500 of them in the wild. That makes this sighting extremely significant, for a number of reasons.

“This is one of the five most endangered cats worldwide, but we have to know where it is present so we can protect it,” CONAF (Chile’s National Forest Corporation) biologist Mariano de la Maza told Earth Touch. “With this sighting, we can now form a new conservation plan for them based on the information we have.”

Now if only they could set a trap camera for those long-rumored Crossfitters…

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