<p>Caught by a camera trap, a leopard prowls under the dense canopy of the Jeypore-Dehing lowland <a id="wb:s" title="rain forest" href="http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/rainforest-profile.html">rain forest</a> in the northeast <a id="xhdc" title="Indian" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/india-guide/">Indian</a> state of Assam (<a id="jhx." title="map" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/india-map/">map</a>). <br><br>Released in February, the picture was taken during a two-year survey supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.<br><br>The research found seven cat species in a 354-square-mile (570-square-kilometer) range—the highest diversity of cat species yet photographed in a single area.<br><br>Wildlife biologist Kashmira Kakati had been studying the gibbons of Jeypore-Dehing and became curious about the predator tracks she kept finding on the ground.</p><p>"I said, I need to find out what's there," Kakati told National Geographic News. "Nobody had any clue. People who had been in the forest 30 years didn't know."<br><br>With 30 digital camera traps, Kakati captured not only the cats but a number of other rare forest animals between 2007 and 2009. "Even I was surprised by the result," she said. (See related <a id="l9dn" title="pictures of a rare Chinese wildcat snapped by a camera trap" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/09/070914-mountain-cat.html">pictures of a rare Chinese wildcat snapped by a camera trap</a>.)<br><br>(Related: <a href="http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/big-cats/">National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative.</a>)<br><br><em>—Dan Morrison</em></p>

Leopard Spotted

Caught by a camera trap, a leopard prowls under the dense canopy of the Jeypore-Dehing lowland rain forest in the northeast Indian state of Assam (map).

Released in February, the picture was taken during a two-year survey supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The research found seven cat species in a 354-square-mile (570-square-kilometer) range—the highest diversity of cat species yet photographed in a single area.

Wildlife biologist Kashmira Kakati had been studying the gibbons of Jeypore-Dehing and became curious about the predator tracks she kept finding on the ground.

"I said, I need to find out what's there," Kakati told National Geographic News. "Nobody had any clue. People who had been in the forest 30 years didn't know."

With 30 digital camera traps, Kakati captured not only the cats but a number of other rare forest animals between 2007 and 2009. "Even I was surprised by the result," she said. (See related pictures of a rare Chinese wildcat snapped by a camera trap.)

(Related: National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative.)

—Dan Morrison

Photograph courtesy Kashmira Kakati

Pictures: 7 Cat Species Found in 1 Forest—A Record

Seven cat species all live in a single Indian rain forest, camera traps show—the world's highest known cat diversity.

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet