The African golden cat is one of the most elusive and least understood wild cats in the world. So biologists were thrilled to capture the first-ever video footage (above) of the Caracal aureata attacking a group of red colobus monkeys in a national park in south Uganda.
It’s not the first time African golden cats have been caught on camera in Kibale National Park, but the hunting footage marks a rare daytime appearance for an animal so skittish, biologists used to think it was nocturnal. The video is precious to conservationists eager to learn as much as they can about the cat. Laila Bahaa-el-din of Panthera, an NGO that works to conserve endangered cats, told the Guardian that it sheds new light on the skittish cat’s hunting techniques:
This was a cat we didn’t know anything about a few years ago, it was thought to be nocturnal, we now know it isn’t. It was thought to spend most of its time in the trees, we now know it actually spends most of its time on the ground. Here, we’re learning it hunts on the ground, not in trees, even if it goes up to the trees sometimes for security.
As George Dvorsky writes at i09, the cat is Africa’s least-studied. Scientists know, though, that it preys on animals including birds, piglets and antelope; it is thought that the cats only prey on primates five percent of the time, making the monkey hunt conservationists managed to catch on camera an even rarer find.