A magical sighting in Ecuador’s rainforest
Stealing across the rainforest canopy is the most elusive of wild cats, the margay, which is well-adapted to arboreal life. In fact, it can spend its entire life in the treetops (only dropping down to earth to feed on a rat or guinea pig). The margay is known to hang from branches by one hind foot, can leap almost four metres from branch to branch, and its ankles can rotate up to 180 degrees, allowing it to scamper down trees head-first. This picture of the endangered and rarely seen cat in its nocturnal element was taken by Dillon Anderson, the 2016 WildlifePhoto Photographer of the Year. He had originally wanted an image of a jaguar. ‘After a week of waiting about four hours after dusk, I captured this shot,’ he says. ‘The margay knew I was there, it could smell me… The special thing is that it allowed me to take its picture. Usually animals don’t hold tight for people. It did not react to the flash, and after pausing just carried on through the forest.’ Almost 90 per cent of this region is still virgin rainforest, and offers fantastic ecotourism.