The fight to save India’s most elusive cat

DM

The encounter took place on a cool winter morning in 2012, in the coastal Indian city of Visakhapatnam. A gentle breeze nipped at the air as Murthy Kantimahanti stood transfixed, staring at a metal trap set up on a dirt trail leading to dense bushes and towering neem trees. Inside the trap was a cat – but no ordinary cat. It was bigger than a house cat, but not as big as a leopard or a tiger. It had a squarish face, relatively small ears for the size of its head, a short tail and curiously webbed feet, like an aquatic animal.

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