Wild cats from Felidae family are solitary predators and very well adapted to forest habitats, mountainous terrain, mangroves and a few also to wetlands. North Eastern forest region of India is still unexplored and home to very rare and unique species of wild animals, wild cats are one of them.
Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the best place to spot wild cats in North East India along with Buxa Tiger Reserve, Pakke Tiger Reserves and Kaziranga National Park.
Clouded leopard is the smallest big cat found in India, also the state animal of Meghalaya and occurs from the Himalaya to southeastern Asia. The wild leopard is a arboreal, nocturnal and solitary cat species, occurs in Manas National Park of Assam, Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary and Balphakram National Park of Meghalaya.
Asiatic golden cat is a beautiful medium sized wild cat listed as Near Threatened due to habitat loss is native to the North East India and Asia. The golden cat prefers habitats of Buxa Tiger Reserve, Kanchenjunga, open grasslands of Assam and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
The wild cat is one of the most adaptable predator in Eastern India, Recently scientists have found six different colour morphs of Asiatic golden cat in Arunachal Pradesh. Image – livemint
Fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal, lives in the vicinity of swamps, wetlands and mangroves. The medium sized wild cat listed as Vulnerable due to destruction of wetlands, hunting and polluted rivers.
Leopard cat is again native to the northeastern Indian subcontinent and distributed from the Sundarbans to foothills of the Himalayas. In the northeast India, Leopard cat mostly found around the rivers, valleys and in ravine forest.
Marbled wild cat is another lesser known species of felid found in North East India, from the eastern Himalayas to Southeast Asia. The small wild cat is similar to a domestic cat in size but differ in terms of colour, patterned and black stripes with a very long tail.
Jungle cat is also known as reed cat and swamp cat, native to Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The medium sized wild cat is also solitary in nature and found living around the wetlands and swamps of Sundarbans, grasslands and the forest of North East India.
Rusty spotted cat is the smallest member of wild cat species, only found in India, western Terai of Nepal and Sri Lanka. They are also nocturnal like other wild Indian cat species and occurs mainly in dense forest, grassland and along India’s Eastern Ghats.
Indian leopard is distributed in the forest of the Indian subcontinent and shared habitat with Asiatic lion and Bengal tiger. Kaziranga and unexplored northeast forest are known to home of the elusive wild leopard cats of India.
Bengal tiger is listed as Endangered and among the biggest wild cats alive in India with one of the largest breeding populations in Kaziranga National Park and Sundarbans. Recently India’s first snow tiger found in Arunachal Pradesh in the snow capped forest of upper Dibang Valley Sanctuary.