Monday, April 8, 2024

Controversy of the Tiger Cats

    Going back to 2013, there were two new Latin American tiger cat species recognized. These two species were "the southern tiger cat (Leopardus guttulus) and northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus)" of which they were both deemed vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Recently in 2024, a paper published by Scientific Reports was released that described a third tiger cat species called Leopardus pardinoides

    The biggest debate after the release of this paper lies in understanding the distribution and the vulnerability of each tiger cat species to make sure they are all properly protected and documented. With many protected species, the main thing to do to help them is protect their habitat and prevent habitat loss. With the discovery of a new tiger cat, finding what they need is crucial for their protection. 

    Finding where they are located on the map is also something important to be able to document and protect the tiger cats as a whole. Of course with the new species, the original map has to be completely revised. This also means that there is likely less of each species than they originally thought which shows as a population drop. It was stated that "based on historical distribution, the authors estimated an alarming 55.9% range reduction for L. tigrinus, 50.4% for L. pardinoides, and 68.2% for L. gutullus". 

    Another concern is the spread of diseases by stray dogs in the area to these three tiger cat species. Since these tiger cats are considered endangered species, it's even more concerning for officials. With another controversy over another debated tiger cat species Leopardus narinensis, the water of the debate continues to stay muddy.

    Overall, coming to a conclusion of whether they are a completely newly discovered species is extremely important for their preservation. This leads to more control over land preservation to prevent them from going extinct as well as the management of local stray dogs and possible diseases that could affect the tiger cat population. Getting more of an idea of the areas they inhabit and their population will make it much easier to decide how critical their endangered status is which therefore should determine the amount of intervention required to preserve them.

Composite image details the differences in appearance between the three tiger cats. Each is slightly different in body size and shape, and with differing spot patterns. Curiously, the newly described L. pardinoides has only one pair of teats, while the others have two. A) represents the savanna tiger cat, L. tigrinus; B) represents the newly proposed clouded tiger cat, L. pardinoides; and c) the Atlantic Forest tiger cat, L. guttulus. A likely revision of these species’ threat status could see all three classified as endangered. Image courtesy of de Oliveira et al., 2024.Article title - A tiger cat gains new species designation, but conservation challenges remain
"Composite image details the differences in appearance between the three tiger cats. Each is slightly different in body size and shape and with differing spot patterns. Curiously, the newly describes L. pardinoides has only one pair of teats while the others have two" (Oliveira et al., 2024).
A is the savanna tiger cat (L. tigrinus), B is the possible clouded tiger cat (L. pardinoides), and C is the Atlantic Forest tiger cat (L. guttulus). 


(News Article)

(Scientific Article)

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