Cretan wildcat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cretan wildcat[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. silvestris
Subspecies: F. s. cretensis
Trinomial name
Felis silvestris cretensis
Haltenorth, 1953

The Cretan wildcat (Felis silvestris cretensis; Greek: φουρόγατος, fourógatos) is a European wildcat subspecies that inhabits the Greek island of Crete and was first described in 1953.[2]

Long feared extinct, participants of an expedition by the University of Perugia, led by Alessandra Bellardinelli, managed to capture an individual in 1996. They named the wildcat that they captured 'Jack'. Two hypotheses of how wildcats arrived on the island have been suggested:[3]

  • It was already present before the mainland and Crete separated.
  • Early settlers of Crete brought domesticated cats with them. Some of these escaped and became wild again.

In October 2017, Greek news sites circulated reports that a sheep farmer, after laying traps for a predator that attacked young sheep of his herd, captured an individual of the species. The reports were accompanied by photographs and video footage of the captured animal.[4][5][6][7]