New cat species discovered (Photo: Twitter)
Cat-fox, an unusual type of cat species has reportedly been discovered by wildlife experts on the French island of Corsica. The feline which is slightly larger domestic cat measures about 35 inches from head to tail and have large, ringed tails and "highly developed" canine teeth is called ‘’chat-renard” (cat-fox) in French and “Ghjattu volpe” in the Corsican language. The mysterious cat like most of its feline family prowls and night and have discovered a lot of buzz ever since its discovery though local legends believe that the animal has been with them for long.
According to reports, there are just about 16 of the cats on the island and wildlife experts are attempting to make them a protected species.
Chief environmental technician of the National Hunting and Wildlife Office Pierre Bendetti said, "We believe that it's a wild natural species which was known but not scientifically identified because it's an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits."
He went on to say that the discovery of the cats was 'wonderful'.
"The cat-fox is part of our shepherd mythology. From generation to generation, they told stories of how the forest cats would attack the udders of their ewes and goat’’ he added.
"By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris. It's close to the African forest cat, Felis silvestris lybica, but its exact identity is still to be determined," Pierre Benedetti, Benedetti, who has spent more than a decade researching the species told AFP in 2012.
Other experts add that the animal is different from the European wildcat, which is found across much of Europe, and there is speculation that the species may have originated in the Middle East.
The “cat-fox”, ater several years of attempting to officially find one of the elusive cats was found in a chicken coop in 2008, sparking research into the elusive animals. Since 2016 officials have captured 12 of 16 “cat-foxes” spotted in the local area. After the felines are studied, they are released. Wildlife experts are hoping by capturing, studying and tagging the animals, they can get these cat foxes "recognized and protected" in the next few years.