Records of the Vulnerable Chinese mountain cat Felis bieti are known from the eastern border of the Tibetan Plateau, mostly from Qinghai province, but also from other areas further north, east and north-west. Disagreement regarding the reliability of some records has led to uncertainty about the species' distribution. In order to obtain information about its current distribution and status we conducted surveys in various Chinese provinces and evaluated former records and specimens. Forty-five specimens and living individuals were examined, and 189 records were gathered from local sources. Our data confirm that this cat is endemic to China, and occurs in montane forest edge, alpine shrubland and meadow habitats. At present it is confined to the provinces of eastern Qinghai and northern Sichuan. Its wild populations are facing a number of threats and environmental pressures such as poaching, use of chemical rodenticides, and environmental changes. We recommend moving this species to Category I of Chinese law, enforcement of its protection in reserves, and the establishment of new reserves, specifically for this species, in areas in which it is currently unprotected.
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