The Andean cat is one of the world´s most endangered felids and the only one in the Americas classified as endangered by the IUCN. Previously known only in habitats above 3000 meters above sea level in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, in 2008 WCS confirmed its presence outside of the Andean cordillera, in the northern Patagonian steppe of Argentina, at altitudes as low as 650 meters above sea level. Furthermore, the newly-discovered Patagonian population of Andean cats is evolutionarily distinct from the highland animals, highlighting its conservation value.
Andean cats are hunted by goat herders that perceive this cat as a threat to their livestock and economy, alongside all other carnivores in Patagonia. Actual goat losses to Andean cats are very low, but the threat to this carnivore from retaliatory hunting is quite significant.
We work with herders to decrease actual predation losses by using non-lethal methods to deter carnivores. At the same time, we help herders who agree not to hunt wildlife and to protect wildlife habitats to obtain certification for their goat and sheep fibers, providing them with a greater economic return from fewer animals.