11 October, 2012
A close encounter with an African golden cat in Gabon
Kaplan Scholar, Laila Bahaa-el-din writes: 'The African golden cat, renowned for being secretive and rarely glimpsed, has been my study animal for over two years. It is a forest cat, with a range restricted to equatorial Africa. I use remotely-triggered camera traps to collect data on golden cats, and was almost resigned to only ever seeing images of them captured in this way. But my time came one fine morning as I walked along an old logging road with my field assistants, Arthur and Willy. A cat-like shape was on the road ahead. I came to a sudden halt, lifted my camera and zoomed in to confirm that it was indeed what I had been searching for. A red-coated golden cat sat on the road ahead. She looked towards us and quietly slipped away. It was brief, but it was enough - I had seen a golden cat with my own eyes.'