The elusive and endangered yamaneko. Photo: Makoto Yokotsuka. The Iriomote cat is a survivor. For centuries, it employed the surest survival technique of all -- avoiding humans -- before being scientifically described for the first time in 1967 by Dr. Yoshimori Imaizumi of Tokyo's National Science Museum. Its home, Iriomote Island, is one of the southernmost points in Japan. Located more than 1,200 miles from Tokyo, Iriomote is often called Japan's last true wilderness. With 90 percent of its land still undeveloped, this sparsely populated tropical ecosystem has been the perfect hiding place for the yamaneko (literally "mountain cat"). Favoring …
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Jeff Shaw is an award-winning environmental journalist. His work has appeared in publications including The Nation, In These Times, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.