The felines are an animal family of the most fascinating that they go from big specimens, that give a little bit of fear and respect, up to the smallest and adorable ones.
Unfortunately, most wild cat breeds are seriously threatened, either by habitat loss or hunting. Sometimes we are not aware that they are as rooted to the land as we are, so they should not be disturbed and, much less, persecuted. Many of them can only be protected by supporting their conservation and education around the world.
Keep reading this article on endangered wild cat types to learn more about endangered wild cat breeds. All the information about wild cats can be found here at WildAnimals.
1- Asian Cheetah | (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus)
They once populated the Middle East, Central Asia, the northernmost area of Kazakhstan, and southeastern India.
Today, only 70-110 Asian cheetahs remain in the wild, mainly due to habitat destruction and poaching of both them and their prey. All occupy the arid central plateau of Iran.
2- Snow leopard | (Panthera uncia)
These beautiful specimens live in the rugged mountains of Central Asia, perfectly adapted to the cold, arid landscape and high altitude areas.
Unfortunately, their skin is much coveted by poachers, which causes them to be so persecuted. There are currently between 4000 and 6500 leopards of snow in the wild. (See article about leopards)
3- Fishing Cat | (Prionailurus viverrinus)
Unlike my cat, which hates getting wet, the fishing cat is an expert swimmer who lives in rivers, streams, and mangroves.
In 2008, this feline species was declared endangered, as they live mainly in wetland habitats, which are being eradicated, degraded and transformed at an alarming rate.
4- Borneo Bay Cat | (Pardofelis badia)
Also known as the bay cat or red Borneo cat, it is a feline endemic to Borneo Island that inhabits the jungles and surrounding areas. Forest exploitation is threatening the tropical areas of these cats, so their species has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is one of the few high-quality photos of this beautiful animal.
5- Flat-headed cat | (Prionailurus planiceps)
With a slender body and an exclusive head, this cat was thought to have become extinct in the mid-80s. However, it was rediscovered in the 1990s, surviving in some jungles on the Malacca Peninsula and Sumatra. Its current population is estimated to be below 2500, due to the destruction of its habitat.
6- Andean Cat | (Leopardus jacobita)
Also known as Andean Mountain Cat or Mountain Cat, the Andean cat is the most endangered wild cat species within the American continent. Although they live only in high mountain areas, the valleys inhabited by humans act as barriers, considerably fragmenting their population. This implies that although there are low levels of poaching, it can be devastating. Much hunting is done in Chile and Bolivia for superstitious reasons.
7- Iberian Lynx | (Lynx pardinus)
Considered the most endangered feline species in the world, the Iberian Lynx is one of the rarest and most beautiful mammals that inhabit our planet today.
Its poaching and abuses, coupled with a disease called myxomatosis, which decimated the rabbit population (its primary food source) in the 1950s, have left only about 300 lynx in their natural habitat.
8- Pallas’s Cat | (Otocolobus manul)
These beautiful specimens love to spend time in caves, cracks between rocks, or in marmot burrows.
They only go out in the afternoon to start their hunt. Since 2002, this species has been threatened by habitat destruction, prey depletion, and hunting.
9- Margay | (Leopardus wiedii)
The margay is perfectly designed to lead a life in trees. It is the only feline that can turn its hind legs 180º, allowing it to move through the trees like a squirrel. They can even hang from a single-legged branch.
Some 14,000 specimens are killed each year just for their skin. This has greatly decimated their population, as they only reproduce once every two years, and has caused their mortality rate to increase by 50 percent.
10- Serval | (Leptailurus serval)
This feline loves to roam the African savannahs. It possesses a very characteristic trait, which is that it is the feline with the longest legs (in relation to the size of its body) in the world.
Unfortunately, they are unnecessarily hunted for their fur, which is sold to the most unsuspecting tourists as if it were cheetah or leopard skin.
11- Caracal | (Felis caracal)
Also known as Persian Lynx or African Lynx, this feline can produce a barking sound, which it will use as a warning.
This species is endangered in North Africa and is extremely rare in Central Asia and India.
12- African Golden Cat | (Caracal aurata)
These specimens are very evasive and difficult to find in the wild.
This feline is twice the size of a domestic cat. Although their life in nature is almost unknown, in captivity, they can live up to 12 years.
13- Asiatic Golden Cat | (Catopuma temminckii)
They live in Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal, southern China, India, and Sumatra. It prefers jungle habitats with rocky areas, although it occasionally appears in deciduous and subtropical forests. Rarely found on open land.
Deforestation and hunting for its skin and bones are the reasons this feline is threatened.
14- Sand Cat | (Felis margarita)
This is the feline best adapted to sandy deserts. Its head is remarkably broad, and its ears are extensive, which improves its hearing and loss of excess heat.
This cat is on the list of endangered species, whose hunting is prohibited in many countries.
15- Amur Leopard | (Panthera pardus orientalis)
Due to extensive habitat loss and conflict with the human race, the Leopards Amur, also called Far East leopard, Manchurian leopard, or Korean leopard, are in critical danger, existing only between 25 and 34 specimens in the wild.
16- Sumatran Tiger | (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
The Sumatran Tiger is the last of the Indonesian tigers to survive in the wild.
Despite increased enforcement policies against poaching, they are being hunted to extinction to satiate global markets. There are currently fewer than 400 specimens.
17- Clouded Leopard | (Neofelis nebulosa)
This species is considered to be an evolutionary link between big cats and small cats. These leopards are threatened by habitat loss due to large-scale deforestation and poaching.
It is suspected that their population could be below 10,000 mature specimens.
18- Marbled Cat | (Pardofelis marmorata)
Often confused with the Clouded Leopard, this cat is much smaller and has a much more distinctive tail.
It is believed that the greatest threat to this cat is the destruction of its forest habitat throughout Southeast Asia, which is occurring at an alarming rate, and which affects not only this species, but also its prey.
19- Leopard Cat | (Prionailurus bengalensis)
The color of this cat can vary from gray to red, with white belly or very light. It is the first wild cat that was successfully used in a domestic-wild hybrid breeding program, making it an adorable cat and perfect for companionship.
20- Maltese Tiger | (Panthera caeruleus)
Also known as the blue tiger, the Maltese is such a rare specimen that it is almost mythical. The term blue tiger refers to a suspected mutation of the coat color that some tigers may have had, mainly “sighted” in China’s Fujian province.
They are said to have a bluish skin with dark grey stripes, although this mutation is thought to have disappeared.
21- Golden Tiger
The golden tiger is not a distinct species of tiger, only that its name refers to a color deviation.
These specimens are often the result of captive breeding. However, in India, there are records of wild golden tigers dating back to the early 20th century.
22- White Lion | (Panthera leo krugeri)
Although they may be misleading, these lions are not albinos. This is a rare color mutation in the Timbavati area. The white lions are the same reddish African lions. In African beliefs, this precious animal is considered sacred.
In the wild, they cannot survive long because of their white fur; they do not have the camouflage indicated that allows normal lions to hunt without any problem. That is why it is usually bred in captivity.
23- Anatolian leopard | (Panthera pardus tulliana)
For more than 30 years, it was thought that this Turkish leopard had become extinct in captivity. In 2013, a shepherd in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir killed a large feline threatening his flock. Biologists later confirmed that it was an Anatolian leopard.
Although it is a sad story, it gives hope that this species could still exist.
24- Rusty-spotted cat | (Prionailurus rubiginosus)
This is the world’s smallest wild cat, living in the areas of Sri Lanka and southern India.
Unfortunately, the rusty cat appears as a “vulnerable” species because much of its natural habitat has become farmland.
25- Wild Scottish Cat | (Felis silvestris silvestris)
The Scottish wild cat is critically endangered, with an estimated population of less than 400.
26- Black Footed Cat| (Felis nigripes)
It’s the smallest cat of all African wild cats. This species has black fur on its legs to protect itself from the heat of the desert.
Much of its population has been decimated by poisoned baits and traps for other animals.