Rare cats spotted in northwest China
XINING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- A rare type of cat has been spotted in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
Infrared cameras have caught a female Felis bieti, or wildcat, feeding her two cubs on the bank of the Tongtian River in the Sanjiangyuan area, the source of China's major rivers, in southern Qinghai, according to the county government of Chindu.
In the video footage, the mother can be seen feeding her babies and teaching them hunting skills every day since September.
"Wildcats are under Class Two national protection and the feline can only be found in China," said Sanjiangyuan-based researcher Zhao Xiang. "The cats are quite mysterious, and very limited records about them exist."
The material collected will be quite valuable for research about the cats, said Xiao Lingyun with Peking University.
"The cameras also caught the cats hunting plateau rodents, indicating that the feline species is very important to ecological balance," Xiao said, adding that Chinese researchers will conduct further surveys about wildcats to determine their distribution.
Sanjiangyuan is home to a variety of wildlife and an area with some of the widest animal and plant diversity in the world.