Winners Photography Awards 2010
Rusty-spotted Cat by Santosh Saligram
Seen here in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, the rusty-spotted cat Prionailurus rubiginosus is the smallest wild feline in India. Though listed as ‘vulnerable’ by IUCN, very little is known about its ecology, apart from the fact that it is nocturnal, largely arboreal and a highly efficient predator of rodents and birds. It could in other words be more threatened than we realise. An important identifying feature of this enigmatic cat is its habit of instantly climbing up a tree or entering a tree hollow when encountered on foot, making it one of the most difficult subjects to photograph.