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Fossa

Cryptoprocta ferox

Fossa

The fossa is endemic to the island of Madagascar which means that this creature has developed in isolation without any influences from outside the island.

While the fossa’s appearance is sometimes compared to cats, it is actually closely related to civets and mongooses. They are the largest carnivores in Madagascar and are excellent hunters. Half of the fossa’s diet is made up of lemurs. The fossa is a swift hunter which can jump, scurry and dash to outmanoeuvre these primates.

Habitat
Rainforest

Diet - Carnivore
Fossa eat lemurs, other small mammals, birds and fish.

Size
The average fossa can measure up to 80 centimetres (cm). Their tails can be up to 70cm long and they can weigh up to 12 kilograms.

Location
Fossa are only found in the tropical forests of Madagascar.

Conservation status 
The IUCN believes that fossa face a very high risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed under Appendix II of CITES.

Threats
Fossa are threatened by the loss of their habitat. There are also a number of local myths about the fossa which have made the Malagasy people afraid of them. In fact, many people kill them on sight.

Current population
Research has indicated that there are less than 2,500 fossa left in the wild. They are gradually declining in numbers.

Zoo population
There is an international studbook for fossa. There has been an EEP for fossa since 1994. There are approximately 105 fossas living in zoos across the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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