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Indian Desert Cat spotted in Panna Tiger Reserve

  • Category
  • Published
    28th Dec, 2021


An Indian Desert Cat has been spotted for the first time in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).


About the species

  • The Indian Desert Cat (Felis silvestris ornata) is also known as the Asiatic Wildcat or the Asian Steppe Wildcat. 
  • The Indian Desert Cat is said to rest in the daytime and hunt in the night when it roams nearly five to six kilometres in search of prey that include smaller animals and birds. 
  • Not much is known about the animal as there is not enough in-depth study done on it. 
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern
    • CITES: Appendix-II
    • Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule-I

Quick facts about Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR)

  • Panna Tiger Reserve is spread over 1,598 sq km of Madhya Pradesh’s Panna and Chhatarpur districts.
  • Its core zone (critical tiger habitat) comprises 576 sq km while the rest is the buffer zone of the reserve.
  • It is located at the edge of the Vindhyachal mountain range, just before it opens into the Gangetic plains.
  • PTR is predominantly a miscellaneous dry deciduous forest.
  • Ken river flows through PTR. Ken-Betwa river interlinking project is also going to be located within this reserve.


  • The wild cat lives in desert-shrub areas, it can survive without water.
  • The species is found in 'Western India'.
  • It is commonly seen in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Survival in the desert

  • Cushion toes for temperature: The toes of the species have cushion like hair which help it balance the fluctuating desert temperatures.
  • Water: The desert cat can survive without too much water. 
  • Camouflaging: The cat is coloured such that it is camouflaged well in the desert sand, making it difficult to be spotted.
  • Ear power: The desert cat has big ears that are very sensitive and it can pick up the slightest sound, even a kilometre away.

The desert cats have also been seen at the Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and in the forests of Mirzapur forests in Uttar Pradesh. 


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