New Cat-Fox Species Discovered in Corsica Jun 19, 2019 19:28:50 GMT -5
Post by JoannaB on Jun 19, 2019 19:28:50 GMT -5
New Cat-Fox Species Discovered in Corsica
The cat-fox is well-known to shepherds on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, but it has now been determined the animals, which have wider ears, shorter whiskers and more “highly developed canine teeth” than domestic cats, are a distinct species.
Known to Corsicans as Ghijattu volpe, cat-foxes are quite rare with perhaps as few as 16 of the golden-striped creatures currently roaming the rocky island. Pierre Benedetti, chief environmentalist for the National Hunting and Wildlife Office of France (ONCFS), said it’s “wonderful” an actual new species has been discovered. “It’s their size and their tail that earned them the name cat-fox,” he continued. “By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica, but it’s exact identity is still to be determined.
His colleague, Carlu-Antone Cecchini, ONCFS filed agent in charge of forest cats, added. “The cat-fox is part of our shepherd mythology. From generation to generation, they told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goats.”
ONCFS officers trapped the first cat-fox in 2016. Before that, the elusive creatures, which weight between 7 and 10 pounds, were seen only by shepherds in remote hills, although one “was caught unexpectedly in 2008 in a chicken coop at Olcana in Cap Corse,” Benedetti reported.
The ONCFS has humanely captured around a dozen of the animals, releasing them following a quick examination. Now, they must have the rare creature “recognized and protected” within two to four years.
Source: Michael Moran, The Daily Star, June 19, 2019.