Ghost of the Andes Materializes in Haunting Moment

The Andean Cat is an Endangered species rediscovered in 1989. (Photo by Jim Sanderson)

In 1988, GWC Program Manager of Wild Cat Conservation Jim Sanderson went to Chile in search of a ghost. With only two confirmed sightings of the Andean Cat, the species had begun to take on the element of the mystical. In this Lostcast, we share the unexpected story of how the Ghost of the Andes instead found Sanderson in a sheer moment of serendipity, spurring a new era of conservation for the lost feline:

After Sanderson retrieved his camera and video camera, he and the Andean Cat met about halfway up the rock pile, giving Jim the opportunity to get the first-ever footage of the Andean Cat:

In February of 2000, one of the photos Sanderson took of the Andean Cat on that fateful day appeared in Canon’s “Wildlife as Canon Sees It” feature in National Geographic:

The photo generated enough interest that, with the help of Wildlife Conservation Network, Sanderson was able to create an organization to help conserve the Andean Cat throughout its range. All four range countries now have Andean Cat conservation programs.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species now classifies the Andean Cat as Endangered.