The Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) is a medium-sized wild cat native to Southeast Asia. It is considered a rare species, and its population is thought to be declining due to habitat loss and hunting. Known as the ‘Fire’ cat in Thailand, there have been recent sightings at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. In Thailand, the cat is found primarily in the northern and eastern regions, as well as in some protected areas such as national parks. The Asian golden cat is a forest-dwelling species and it is typically active at night.
It has a distinctive golden-brown coat with black spots, and can weigh up to 40 pounds. The species is considered to be a vulnerable according to IUCN Red List.
In northeastern Thailand, the Asian golden cat is found primarily in mountainous regions, such as the Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary and the more southernly Khao Yai National Park. These areas are characterized by dense, tropical forests that provide the cat with a suitable habitat for hunting and hiding. The Asian golden cat is an arboreal and terrestrial animal, it is known to live in a wide range of elevations, from sea level to over 4,000 meters.
In these mountainous regions, the cat can be found in a variety of forest types, including evergreen, deciduous, and mixed forests. The dense forests provide the cat with a variety of prey species, such as small mammals, birds, and reptiles. The cat is also known to consume fruits and insects.The Asian golden cat’s favourite foods, though, include rats, rabbits, baby barking deer and small birds.
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Locals can always tell when a Golden cat is around as the many wild hens and fowels are know where to be seen.
They are found in evergreen and mixed forests. The cats have a gestation period of 100 days, giving birth to one or two babies at a time. Only venturing out at night, its hard ever to see Asian golden cats in their natural habitat.
The species (Suea Fai) is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss and illegal poaching.
Appearance of The Asian Golden Cat
The Asian golden cat has a strong and nimble body, with a short and broad head, and large, oval ears. Their eyes are large and set wide apart, and have a distinctive golden-orange color. The cat’s tail is relatively long, and the tip of the tail is always white. They are light for wild cats weighing up to only 15 Kgs. Some Asian golden cats have black, brown or grey patterns and distinctive stripes on their faces above their eyes.
The Asian golden cat has large, sharp claws that are retractable, allowing the cat to climb trees and capture prey with ease. Their paws are also large and padded, which helps them to walk quietly and stealthily.
Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, where the ‘Fire cat’ resides is a protected area located in the northeastern region of Thailand, in the province of Chaiyaphum. It covers an area of approximately 870 square kilometers and is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, and many species of birds and reptiles.
The sanctuary was established in 1977 as a way to protect the area’s wildlife and their habitats. It is home to several different ecosystems, including lowland forests, evergreen forests, and grasslands, which provide a wide range of habitats for the various species that live there.
In addition to its wildlife, Phu Khieo also offers many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. There are several trails that run through the sanctuary, allowing visitors to explore the different habitats and see the animals that call them home.
Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary is also an important conservation area, as the Thai government has implemented a number of measures to protect the wildlife living there. These include anti-poaching efforts, habitat restoration, and breeding programs for endangered species.
It is a great place for nature lover, researcher and photographer to explore. Visitors need to contact the sanctuary office for permission to enter and also need to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding the sanctuary.
The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. The Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) appears on this list.