A mag­i­cal sight­ing in Ecuador’s rain­for­est

Getaway (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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