WCS Argentina

Andean Cat

The Andean cat is one of the world´s most endangered cats, and the only cat species of the Americas classified as endangered by the IUCN.  Previously known only from high-altitude habitats (above 3000 m.a.s.l.) in the Andes of Perú, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, in 2008 WCS confirmed the presence of the Andean cat outside of the Andean cordillera, in the northern Patagonian steppe of Argentina, at altitudes as low as 650 m.a.s.l.  Genetic analysis indicates that this newly-discovered population of Patagonian cats represents an evolutionary lineage distinct from the highland cats.

Activities

WCS is addressing the livestock-carnivore conflict over the long term within the Andean Patagonia Steppe Landscape of northern Patagonia on two fronts: helping herders reduce predation losses and creating an economic benefit from Andean cats through Wildlife Friendly certification of cashmere produced by herders who agree not to kill them.

Threats

Subsistence goat husbandry is the main livelihood of rural people in this area of Patagonia, and goat herders kill any animal that they believe threatens their herds. Nevertheless, the main predators of goats in Patagonia are pumas and culpeo foxes, and the conflict with pumas has intensified in recent years.  Actual losses to Andean cats are probably very low, but because of the magnitude of the conflict with pumas and culpeos, goat herders kill Andean cats to avoid any possible additional loss, not in direct retaliation for a specific act of predation, seeing no benefit in letting them live. 

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Contact

WCS Argentina
Amenabar 1595 piso 2 oficina 19, C1426AKC CABA

Key Staff

Andrés Novaro
Director of Patagonian and Andean Steppe Program
All Andean Cat Staff >>

Featured Partners

Dirección de Recursos Naturales Renovables de Mendoza
Alianza Gato Andino
Áreas Naturales Protegidas del Neuquén