Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Iriomote cat from Iriomote Island

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On the Japanese Island Iriomote, lives the critically endangered Iriomote Cat, according to Wiki; as of 2007, there are an estimated 100–109 cats remaining.  In 1967 Dr. Yoshinori Imaizumi told everyone (the scientific community anyway) of this new species. Other peeps disputed this, carrying out research that concluded the Iriomote cat wasn't it's own species but a subspecies of the leopard cat and became subordinated under the genus Prionailurus iriomotensis.

Well we can get all technical about it but really the Iriomote cat is a cutie, no larger than a house cat that is being faced with extinction.  The main reasons behind their demise is that they only reside in one location, tourism is gaining on Iriomote island (more cars = more traffic related deaths) + the threat of domestic animals and toads.


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The council has enforced from what I can tell, a 10 cat limit on domestic cat ownership, with micro chipping also being compulsory

There aren't many photos floating around of the Iriomote cat but I do have a picture of stuffed Yon.  Yon is special, he was brought into care after being hit by a car.  He ended up living until he was 15 (the oldest case recorded) and the observations made of Yon are currently they best existing, in reference to the breed - source

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 Aww yon!

Iriomote island is at the very bottom of Japan, actually it's closer to Taiwan than Okinawa (Japan's most southern main island).  It also looks extremely beautiful, from my quick flickr browse!

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 White sand beaches
And cute towns!

The region has it's own mascot too but it's not based on the scientifically sighted Iriomote cat but a legendary cat, twice the size (the yamapikaryā )

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It's really funny reading the Wiki section on this, some of my favourite quotes;

"a local hunter claimed to have killed a large cat with fur like a tiger's. He disposed of the body, on Haemi, on the southern part of the island. The hunter said that until ten days prior to the interview (where a search was conducted), the cat's skeleton was still where he had left it, but the recent rains had washed it away. He described the cat as having a body twice as large as a house cat's, and greenish striped fur."

"a hunter in 1994 who had the skull of what he believed was a large wild cat (later was) determined (to be) a house cat."

lol lol!

The article concludes by basically saying that such a sized cat would need, 30 square kilometers and since Iriomote Island is about 290 square kilometers, only about ten yamapikaryā could live on the island.  I feel a bit sorry for these local hunters (not sorry that they killed a Yamapikarya) but for the fact that their stories seem to be under question - which I'm sure everyone has experienced once in their life :P

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Pikarya the mascot lives on anyway! His belly showing the region's islands (Iriomote being the biggest).  They didn't make him green though :P

Where to find more of the cute mascot Pikarya
Twitter
Facebook

 Let's hope the Iriomote cat lives on :)
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P.S. Tomorrow I'm off to Singapore/Malaysia for 10 days so I'm going to be a bit quiet but I have heaps of cool blog entries lined up :) *waves* See-ya guys when I get back!

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