Camera traps captured rare footage showing Felis chaus chaus, the northern subspecies of the reed cat (or swamp cat) in the Korchay and Turyan-chay reserves (northern Azerbaijan). The cameras were installed as part of a joint study by the Institute of Zoology at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, WWF-Azerbaijan and the National Museum of Natural History-BAS. The study, which began in 2018, involved three Bulgarian scientists and one Azerbaijani scientist. The condition of rare and endangered predators in the Transcaucasia is being studied and also includes the leopard and the striped hyena.
The reed cat is an Asian species that weighs up to 16 kg. It inhabits mainly wetlands overgrown with dense vegetation. Northern Azerbaijan is one of the northernmost parts of the range of the species. In the Caucasus and Transcaucasia, its distribution and numbers have been declining sharply since as early as the 1960s, after its habitats were destroyed. The project team collected a number of pieces of evidence for the current distribution of the species in the Talysh Mountains (South Azerbaijan) and the Mingachevir Water Reservoir region (Northern Azerbaijan).