Tiptoeing through scrubby woodlands and fern-rich rainforests in Chile and a sliver of Argentina is a tiny feline called the güiña.
Half the size of a house cat, with a bottlebrush tail and a cartoon-cute face striped with black, the güiña holds the record for smallest wildcat in the Americas. Its petite stature—just under six pounds—combined with its extreme shyness and scientific obscurity means most people don’t even know it exists.
The güiña, named Pikumche, marks the 10,000th animal in National Geographic’s Photo Ark, a quest by photographer Joel Sartore to document every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries around the world.
As with most of the planet's 33 small wildcat species, the güiña, whose