JICA Expert Team (JET) started a trial of long-term camera-trap monitoring in the south area of the Sorkhankol Wildlife Refuge from the middle of October 2016. A camera-trap has an infrared sensor as a trigger. Camera trapping is a method for capturing wild animals on recordable memory even if surveyor is not on the field.

A Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) was captured by camera-trap after midnight on the 29th Oct, 2016.

A mammal survey in/around the Anzali Wetland was conducted in 2015-2016 as a part of comprehensive ecosystem survey, which is one of the joint pilot activity under the Project. Jungle Cat was recorded by the survey based on the interview to local people of several areas in/around the Anzali Wetland. However, the survey did not get any tangible evidence such as direct observation, field sign, and photo.

Finally, camera-trap recorded the presence of Jungle Cat clearly. The camera-traps captured also some photos of Golden Jackals and Wild Boars.

To quote the description in “The Complete Fauna of Iran” by Firouz (2005), dense cover, such as in the Caspian forest or thick patches of bush, reed-beds and riverine thickets, provides suitable habitat for the Jungle Cat in most regions of Iran except west (Azarbaijan to Kermanshah) and eastern Khorasan. It is much larger than the Wild Cat, and has proportionately longer limbs and a shorter tail. It is light brown with shading of grey and possibly olive.

To quote the description in the website of IUCN Red List[link to http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/8540/0 ], the Jungle Cat, despite its name, is not strongly associated with the classic rainforest “jungle” habitat, but rather with wetlands – habitats with water and dense vegetative cover, especially reed swamps, marsh, and littoral and riparian environments – scrubland, and deciduous dipterocarp forest. Habitat destruction for agricultural purposes and infrastructure development are issues in Iran.

Jungle Cat is also called Reed Cat because its typical habitat is reed-bed. It must be an important indicator species of the Anzali Wetland ecosystem because it has very huge reed-bed.

Camera-traps made enable to record wildlife presence, abundance, and population changes of wildlife. JET is ready to provide 20 camera-traps for monitoring activity of the Anzali Wetland ecosystem. Monitoring is essential for evaluating environmental planning and policy for long time. Without monitoring, the project cannot prove its success or identify method for improvement. JET is supporting “the Monitoring of Ecosystem in the Anzali Wetland and its Watershed” as another joint pilot activity.