Yamamaya

Unknown Cat of Japan.

Etymology: Yaeyama (Japanese) word. Physical description: Size of a sheepdog. Has tigerlike stripes.

Distribution: Iriomote-jima in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan.

Possible explanations:

(1) An unrecorded subspecies of Tiger (Panthera tigris), known in southern China though rapidly declining.

(2) An insular subspecies of Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), suggested by C. A. W. Guggisberg, also known from southern China.

(3) A striped variety of the smaller Iriomote cat (Prionailurus iriomotensis), which is spotted or banded.

Sources: "New Mammal Discovered," Animals 10 (March 1968): 501-503; C. A. W. Guggisberg, Wild Cats ofthe World (New York: Taplinger, 1975); Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats ofthe World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 109-110.

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