The vumuk (Panthera vumuk), known by Humans as the Uean big cat, is a species of pantherine native to the forests, grassland and savannah of Uea. Famous for its deep rust to sandy coat with brown narrow stripes on its face and body, both genders have a prominent ruff but only the male has a dark colored mane as well. They also have a tail tufts along with elbow tufts in males. They are a fairly social species of Big cat which live in small prides of up to two females. They are intermediate in size between the Sumatran Tiger and the Asiatic Lion which makes them a fairly big predator, It is not uncommon for Vumuk's to fight either Asiatic Lions or Sumatran Tigers and when they do often the coordinated attacks combined with surprise stealth result in the Vumuk's victory. Despite being smaller than a Lion their social behavior combined with their elusive nature make them the undisputed yet humble apex predator of the Uean wild lands.
It is believed the vumuk is genetically descended from both the Asiatic lion imported to Uea from northwest India and the Sumatran tiger imported to Uea from Sumatra in Indonesia during the late Pleistocene well before they both became endangered on Earth. However the populations of Asiatic lions and Sumatran tigers boomed on Uea as a result of plentiful prey species introduced from Earth. As a result rather than direct competition rather sympatry took place in the areas where both Asiatic lions and Sumatran tigers lived resulting in loose hybridization of the species in those area's. However as we know because male "ligers" or "tigons" are sterile it has to be assumed that either unequal parentage or slow integration of DNA resulted in the modern species on Uea that is the vumuk. It is believed that vumuks were historically much larger because of hybrid vigor but because of adaption became smaller to accommodate their habitat.
Diet and BehaviorEdit
It eats a large range of wildlife from the Uean gazelle to the spotted capybara but will also hunt reptiles and ratites too, for instance. Often it will employ both stalking techniques and cooperation too often with a duo of females working in unison to both flush out and then ambush their prey. Males will often guard a large range of territory marking their territory with urine. They will employ various vocal sounds in communication from roars typical of lions in search of mates or in competition to a chuff sound made by tigers for friendly communication. Males are competitive but rarely engage in hunting unless they are not in the company of females. They are however noticeably more shy than lions but less territorial than tigers which often results in their prides being smaller but more tightly knit. When in Vumuk territory often both a male and a few females will be seen associating in order to join in a hunt, because they hunt more than they do scavenge compared to Asiatic lions. It is not uncommon for unsuspecting travelers to be ambushed from behind and killed by a Vumuk or two which is why they are considered more dangerous than other big cats despite being of a modest size. They will hunt and scavenge in a wide range of territories from savannah down to rainforests. A female Vumuk will give birth to two cubs whom at infancy which have prominent dark brown stripes for camouflage against the thickets and grass however they will fade to a lighter brown as they enter maturity.
"Our team got clearance to a Oaesan research base hidden in the marshlands of Reso. As we got out a few Oaesans in their usual bio suites gave us the green light to enter the marshlands in order to carry out some biological research to relay back to earth, some weird and wonderful horsetails were growing in the marshes amongst the reeds when we saw a Usean Giant Sloth wandering through. A truly massive beast bigger than an elephant. Then as we came to give it space two beasts leaped out from besides us, Vumuk's were beautiful yet vicious big cats, A rich ochre coat with the male possesing a thick brown mane terminating in white cheek ruffs both beasts with brown stripes on its face and back with a few on the inside of its limbs. They confronted the giant beast by circling it and roaring and snarling at it almost as if they were taunting it, then the male jumped on its back biting its neck as it was flaying its large sloth claws, then the female came and bit the giant sloths stomach. In pain the Giant Sloth fell on its front bleeding heavily until the male stood by and clamped the Sloths throat in between its jaws, with a bloody gargle the Sloth finally fell silent as its head slumped against the ground. The Sloth now dead was being eaten by the two Vumuk's and then suddenly another female Vumuk with it's two cubs joined the meal. Then the Oaesans showed us to the building."