03 September 2008

Fences in wildlife reserves may be dangerous to wild cats

Moayyad Sher Shah, Peter Cunningham (2008). Fences as a threat to Sand Cats, Felis margarita Loche, 1858, in Saudi Arabia. Zoology in the Middle East, 44: 104-106

Sand cats (Felis margarita) are in danger of getting trapped while attempting to force themselves to go thru metal fences in a wildlife reserve in Saudi Arabia. Since 2003, Shah & Cunningham found 2 dead and 2 live sand cats all of which had their heads stuck in a diamond mesh fence that was erected in 2003 to keep livestock out of a plant protection area within the larger Saja/Umm Ar-Rimth Protected Area in central Saudi Arabia.

An adult sand cat with head stuck in fence. This animal was subsequently rescued and released. Photograph from Shah & Cunningham (2008).

Three of the stuck cats were sexed and determined to be females. The authors think that the male cats may have larger heads that may be less likely to fit into the openings of fences. They recommend regular patrols along fences in wildlife reserves to free any trapped cats.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oh dear. Poor things. Hope they manage to fix the situation. Perhaps they could make the links wider?