Wild cats – the majesty of nature threatened by man

The rapid development of technology together with the constantly growing population of the Earth has led to serious imbalances in nature. Human activity resulted in a situation where on average every 25 minutes one species dies, and within the last 50 years wildlife populations have decreased by as much as 58%. Poaching is not the only threat – a much bigger one is the shrinking of natural habitats and climate change leading to catastrophic droughts interwoven with floods.

Environmentally-friendly activities undertaken by people nowadays focus not only on creating national parks or legal protection of animal species. The condition of the environment and the rate of destruction of genres enforce methods that we could see 20 years ago only on cinema screens. These are primarily treatments aimed at collecting genetic material, with the help of which it will be possible to rebuild populations weakened enough to be unable to do it alone. This is the goal of the Save Wild Cats Foundation, which deals with critically endangered felid species.

We invite you to a short overview of cats that you will (probably) not have the opportunity to see live. They all belong to the “honorable” group that is at exceptional risk of extinction.

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) – not seen in the wild for 25 years

SOUTH CHINA TIGER Panthera tigris amoyensis – author: J. Patrick Fischer, license CC BY-SA 3.0

South China tiger is the most endangered tiger in the world and the second most endangered mammal in China.

The population of the South China tiger in the early 1850s was estimated at 4,000 individuals. Unfortunately, this animal began to be treated as a pest and regular hunting was organized. Currently, the South China tiger is recognized by scientists as a “functionally extinct” species. Over the past 25 years, no South China tiger has been seen in the wild.

In practice, the term “functionally extinct” in the case of South China tiger means that there are so few wild-living representatives of this wild cat that they are unlikely to create a new generation that would prolong the existence of the species.

At present, the South China tiger probably only live in zoos. However, individuals raised in gardens are too closely related and there are too few of them to reproduce a fully healthy population. Hope for the survival of the South China tiger remains the collection of genetic material from surviving individuals and their artificial reproduction.

Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) – only 87 individuals live in the wild

AMUR LEOPARD (Panthera pardus orientalis) – author: Colin Hines, license CC BY 2.5

The Amur leopard is a rare subspecies of leopard that has adapted to life in extreme conditions in temperate forests. The specificity of these forests is that summers are very hot there, and winters are harsh and snowy. Currently, only about 87 Amur leopards live in the wild.

The Amur leopards is very important ecologically. Protecting their natural habitat brings measurable benefits to other species, including the Amur tigers. Amur leopards also naturally regulate the size population of other species of animals which serve as their nourishment, e.g. deer. Like other leopards, the Amur leopard can run at speeds up to 38 mph and jump over 19 ft horizontally and up to 9 ft vertically. It is usually a loner, but there have been reports of males who remained with the female after mating and helped in raising their offspring. It shows how interesting and unique this species of wild cats is.

Importantly, by applying appropriate conservation measures to the population of Amur leopards and securing their natural habitats, it is still possible to ensure the survival of this species on earth.

Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)- a rare inhabitant of the Indonesian island

SUMATRAN TIGER (Panthera tigris sumatrae) – author: Wilfried Berns, license CC BY-SA 2.0 de

Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all tiger species. Their fur is dark with black stripes. They are very good swimmers, which is useful when hunting, driving larger prey into the water.

Currently, about 400 individuals of this species live in the wild. Only two of the living populations of these wild cats exceed 50 breeding individuals. This is not enough to guarantee population stability. Without the help of man, it is impossible to increase the population of the Sumatran tiger, which can result in another large wild felid can disappear from the surface of the Earth.

The Sumatran tiger is most threatened by poachers and deforestation of their natural habitats. In recent years the number of poachers hunting for these animals has increased significantly due to a growing demand for aphrodisiacs made of them. In Indonesia, the deforestation process has also accelerated significantly, as forests are cut for example for crops and plantations.

Indonesian authorities have banned the killing of the Sumatran tiger under the penalty of prison, but this does not bring any tangible results. The expected income of poaching turns out to be more tempting than complying with bans.

Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata)- a unique wild arboreal cat

MARBLED CAT (Pardofelis marmorata) – źródło: https://www.koty.pl/lamparcik-marmurkowy/

The Marbled cat is the size of a domestic cat, only their silhouette is more slender. No doubt it is a very long and fluffy tail which can be as long as its own body adds to the uniqueness of this wild cat. Currently, the population of the Marbled cat is 10 thousand individuals and is close to being threatened with extinction.

The Marbled cat can be found in Asian rainforests, where it is active during the day, making it easier to observe. He also has a unique ability to walk head down on tree trunks.

Marbled cats have one of the most beautiful furs, which at the same time poses a huge threat for them. Both the charming fur and its high visibility by day provides poachers with sufficient encouragement for hunting. The demand for fur of this animal is still high.

However, it is not poachers that contribute the most to the continuous decline of these wild cats. The biggest threat to Marbled cats is deforestation and limitation of their natural habitats. Without proper protection, the population of this species can drastically decline and threaten its existence.

Summary

The statistics are dramatic. If we do not take appropriate protection measures, the last representatives of the most endangered species will become extinct. Some of them cease to exist before our very eyes. It’s time to think about saving them with all available means.

sand cat
Felis margarita
margay
Leopardus wiedii
leopard
Panthera pardus

HOW YOU CAN HELP

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If you want to help us save endangered species of cats, you can make a donation. Set the amount you pay in the name of protecting these beautiful animals. As a thank you for a donation of minimum PLN 10 you will receive from us a code entitling you to download one of the many wallpapers for your computer and phone.

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