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Cats Are Going Extinct: 12 Most Endangered Feline Species

Marbled Cat

This is the Marbled Cat. Native to South and Southeast Asia, it has been listed as vulnerable to extinction since 2002 with fewer than 10,000 mature individuals left in the world. It is about the size of a house cat and is a tree dweller where it hunts birds, squirrels and reptiles. It is considered sort of a miniature version of the clouded leopard. However, it is often victim to snaring by humans, as its bones, meat and fur are valued. Thankfully, hunting it is prohibited in many countries which may help to slow its decline — but only if deforestation is slowed as well. A loss of habitat is a serious threat to this arboreal species.

 

Blackfooted Cat

Could this little guy be any cuter?? Or be any more easily mistakable for a house cat? But be assured, this is a very wild cat — and also one that is vulnerable to extinction. The Blackfooted Cat is the smallest African cat, and is endemic in the south west arid zone of southern Africa. These cats are strictly nocturnal, and hide at the slightest disturbance, and so are hardly ever seen. They are most unusual in that the almost never climb trees, but instead find shelter by digging burrows. They are also known for being incredibly fierce if cornered — they would give lions and tigers a real run for their money if there weren’t such a size difference. Though it is not persecuted by farmers, its cousin the African wildcat is, and so falling victim to poisons and traps set for other animals — including the poisoning of carcasses to control jackals — is the most significant threat to this tiny species.

 

Cheetah

The last cat on our list is the world’s fastest land animal — but it still can’t outrun the impacts of humans on its environment. The Cheetah has been listed as vulnerable to extinction, and has disappeared entirely from many of its former ranges. Once found throughout Africa and the Middle East, the cheetah is now primarily relegated to one small patch in Iran and fragmented areas of Africa. For thousands of years, cheetahs were tamed as hunting animals and pets, and some kings or emperors would keep a thousand cheetahs at a time. But because cheetahs need large stretches of open land to be able to hunt, the impact of human encroachment, as well as hunting by humans for their furs, has taken its toll. Only around 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild in twenty-five African countries, and cheetahs may be well on their way to the endangered species list.

Photo Credit: Johan Embréus

Photo Credit: Zbyszko

Photo Credit: Karen Corby

 

Also Check Out: Adorable Baby Cheetah Mewing (Video)

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife, , , , , , ,

FromTreehugger, By Jaymi Heimbuch

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

179 comments

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5:06AM PST on Nov 11, 2014

beautiful and magnificient animals

5:25PM PST on Nov 10, 2014

I support Snow Leopard Conservancy and Snow Leopard Trust- they encourage local herders to protect their sheep by using predator proof corrals, (so as not to tempt the snow leopards), and to not poach the wild prey of the snow leopards.

5:24AM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

The human should take this warning of their devastating the environment or they'll soon fall victim to what they've been doing

3:57AM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

Cats in any breed, size, colour or shape are magnificent and mysterious animals. I couldn't imagine a world without these fabulous creatures.

3:58AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

thank you for sharing 16/7,

10:39AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

a tragedy, big cats/wild cats are magnificent

11:30AM PDT on Jun 24, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

6:12PM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

What a great list of some cats I have never heard of. Sounds like the greatest action we can take to help them is to STOP eating PALM. There is no sustainably grown palm, even palm oil listed as organic. Funny, palm was used so little until everyone freaked out about transfats. Now palm is everywhere, even in 'natural', 'organic' (and not so) peanut butter. Shame.

8:47AM PDT on Jun 5, 2013

Tragic!

9:50AM PDT on Jun 1, 2013

THANK YOU FOR SHARING

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