An original genetic strain of feral cats has been discovered in the remote woodland thickets of northern Corsica, according to recent DNA studies.
According to the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB), the enigmatic striped "cat fox", mostly known to Corsican shepherds and has long been of interest to experts, is actually a species native to the French Mediterranean island.
Recent genetic studies have proven to “identify a genetic type unique to wild cats” discovered in the remote woodland thickets of northern Corsica.
Ring-tailed Corsican cat foxes can be distinguished from domestic cats and mainland forest felines by genetic testing, according to a statement from OFB.
New Cat-Fox Species Unique
The cat fox shares certain characteristics with house cats, but differs in being taller, measuring 90 centimeters (35 inches) from head to tail, and having a distinctive black-tipped, ringed tail.
Stripes on the front legs, "extremely black" hind legs and red abdomen are other defining features. Thanks to its thick, silky fur, it provides natural flea, tick and lice protection.
After years of playing cat-and-mouse, this humble cat became the focus of intense scientific effort after one of them was unintentionally found in a nearby chicken coop in 2008.
Still, it has long been a part of regional legend.
“The cat fox is part of our shepherd folklore,” Carlu-Antone Cecchini, forest cat mission director for the National Office of Hunting and Wildlife, now part of the OFB, told AFP in 2019.
Stories of how jungle cats attacked the udders of goats and sheep were passed down from generation to generation.
Identifying a distinct genetic lineage is a critical first step to ensure that endangered species are properly protected and conserved.
Günceleme: 18/03/2023 23:40