Malaysian wildlife authorities said Wednesday they rescued a rare Asian golden cat, which was caught in a snare and destined for the cooking pot.
Central Selangor state wildlife and national parks chief Rahmat Topani told AFP villagers in the south of the state alerted officials late Saturday after stumbling upon the trapped animal, known in some countries as a "firecat" because of its reddish-brown fur.
"The cat was caught in a snare which was meant for wild boars but we are concerned because such cats are very rare and usually end up sold for its meat and fur," he said.
"We have examined the cat and its right paw is slightly injured so we are waiting for it to heal before transferring the animal to a zoo in Malacca," he added.
The Asian golden cat, an elusive medium-sized wild cat, is found from Tibet to Sumatra, preferring forest habitats and rocky areas while hunting birds, large rodents and reptiles. They can also bring down much larger prey such as water buffalo calves.
Officials say they do not know how many of the felines, who are often hunted for their fur and meat, remain in the wild but that their numbers have been declining in recent years following a loss of habitat in the region.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the cat as near threatened, saying it comes close to qualifying as vulnerable because of the threats it faces.
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