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.
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.
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)