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Rare ‘Fire Tiger’ Spotted on Trail Cam in Thailand

You’ve heard of tigers, but have you heard of “fire tigers”? These golden predators’ real name is the Asiatic golden cat, and they’re quite rare. A trail cam recently caught one on camera in Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park.

According to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Asiatic golden cat “is a rare wild animal on the verge of extinction.” The IUCN lists the species as near threatened and labels the population trend as “decreasing.”

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Asiatic golden cats are about 16 inches tall and weigh up to 33 pounds. They’re typically golden to reddish-brown, with black lines on their face and a white-tipped tail. Rarer forms of the Asiatic golden cat are dark brown or even black (melanistic).

In a Facebook post announcing the sighting in Khao Sok National Park, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says that historically, local people considered the animal to have “more ferocious behavior than large tigers.”

“Fire tigers” are primarily nocturnal, though this one appears to be out during daylight hours. They eat rodents, birds, reptiles, insects, and small mammals. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says they also hunt animals larger than themselves, such as wild deer and wild boar.

Golden cats live primarily in sub-tropical and tropical evergreen forests. Their range extends from Nepal and northeast India to southeast Asia, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra.

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  1. Gary Kooienga

    Re: ‘fire tigers’. Nowhere in this article is any indication of the size of these cats, other than being smaller than a deer or a wild boar. So how big are they?

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