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Small Endangered Wildcats Roam The Andes Mountains

When we think of wildcats, we think of big cats. Lions, tigers, leopards, etc. Our mental categories tell us that wild felines are big and domesticated cats are small.

But that's not really true. While the most famous wildcats are the big ones, there are many small species too. Due to their size and remote habitats, they're simply much harder to spot.

The Andean mountain cat is one of those smaller species and is absolutely beautiful.

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Their coloring and patterns make them able to blend into the arid, rocky landscape high in the Andes mountains.

That fluffy ringed tail is amazing too.

Their size and coloring makes it tough for people to spot them in person, but trail cams catch them in action.

In fact, there are only 10 known in-person sightings of the species.

They range in size from 22 to 33.5 inches in length and weigh an average of 12 pounds. So they really are about the size of a house cat.

Unfortunately, the Andean cat population isn't very robust.

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There are estimated to be only about 1,400 adults living in the wild.

It's considered one of the five most endangered cats in the world.

Conservation efforts focus on preserving the cats' habitat through education and environmental practices.

Organizations like the Andean Cat Alliance raise money towards conservation efforts and continued research of the species.

If you'd like to learn more, you can visit the ACA website.

h/t: Wildlife Conservation Network

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