There are 36 recognized species of cats in the world. Most people are familiar with the big and medium-sized cats, but few people could name the 22 smaller cats. Like their larger cousins, small cats are threatened by the loss of valuable habitat and prey, indiscriminate killing, and conflict with humans, livestock and domestic animals.
Compared to other carnivores, very little is known about the small cats. With sparse information, it is difficult to obtain funding for conservation projects, provide protection for them, or establish conservation standards. Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation (SWCCF) is leading the way in protecting small endangered cats around the world. Small cat species of the world:
South America: Andean mountain cat, Geoffroy’s cat, Guigna, Jaguarundi, Margay, Ocelot, Oncilla and Pampas Cat
Africa: African golden cat, African wildcat, Black-footed cat and Sand cat
Asia: Asiatic golden cat, Asiatic wildcat, Bornean bay cat, Chinese mountain cat, Fishing cat, Flat-headed cat, Jungle cat, Leopard cat, Manul, Marbled cat and Rusty-spotted cat
Europe: European wildcat
A Unique Conservation Approach
SWCCF fosters collaboration among local scientists and volunteers working to protect small cats in remote regions throughout the world. SWCCF convenes workshops to help train scientists in essential research skills such as camera trapping, and convenes researchers by creating groups such as the Fishing Cat Working Group, which has members from all countries where the Fishing cat is found.
SWCCF and the scientists it works with collect valuable data that can be compiled into a larger database of information on small cats. With this information, SWCCF is able to seek endangered species classification and work with local people to protect cats. Camera traps and radio collar tracking provide SWCCF with much of its research data.
SWCCF works intensively with local people and scientists on education and conservation planning. This work ensures the survival of small endangered cat populations and inspire further study and work with these rare cats.
Small cat species of the world
Dr. Jim Sanderson
After a 20-year career as a top Los Alamos National Laboratory mathematician, Dr. Jim Sanderson left his job to study biology and ecology. He traveled to Chile to study an endangered cat called the guigna, and soon he was tracking elusive small cat species around the world.
He has become one of the world’s foremost experts on small wild felines and founded Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation (originally named Small Cat Conservation Alliance) in 1996.
Jim was the first to capture a photo of the Chinese mountain cat with a camera trap he had set on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in China’s Sichuan Province at an altitude of 12,300 feet. Images such as this have the potential to reveal important information about endangered cats and popularize these cats as species that need protection.
How You Can Help
Small cats like the Flat-headed cat in Borneo are not easily found. $200 buys a trail camera and memory card used to find these small cats.
Any amount can help small cat conservationists reach out to their local communities with education programs.
Donations of any amount can help the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation create a lasting future for endangered cats by helping to grow the Small Wild Cat Conservation Fund.
When you designate your donation to a specific species, 100% of your donation will go directly to the field to support this species.
The Animal Superpower Challenge—brought to you by us and our partners at the Endangered Species Chocolate—in honor of Endangered Species Day, has reached its conclusion! We had a lot of fun and learned a lot of mindblowing facts from our brilliant audience. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared with us all the supercool adaptations of animals big and small.