The big cats are some of the most iconic animals in the world and unfortunately, many of them are endangered. There are many species of cat in this category but here are the seven you should know about: tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lions, jaguars, cheetahs and lynxes then everything about type of wild cats.
Tiger Is Type of Wild Cats
Siberian tiger (stock image)
The Siberian tigress is one of type of wild cats and the world’s largest cat – it’s also critically endangered. Just a few decades ago, there were still tigers living in Turkey and Indonesia. These subspecies are now extinct. The South China tiger is at the stage of no return because there are only about 20 left in the wild. The remaining subspecies are either declining or not doing well
We almost lost the Siberian tiger, but thankfully in the last few decades intense conservation measures have been applied in the Russian Far-east and thanks to that predator of Siberia was brought back from its imminent extinction.
Today, type of wild cats most of the remaining tigers belong to the Bengal subspecies that occurs throughout the Indian subcontinent. India is oftentimes at the top of travelers’ list when searching for this animal in their natural habitat. Some of the best National Parks in India are Ranthambore, Corbett, Bandhavgarh, Sundarbans with their abundant wildlife population Do you mean Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks in India?
Do Lion Is Type of Wild Cats
African lion (stock image)
The lion – the second-largest cat in the world – once roamed all across Africa and a bit of Europe and Asia. Its range isn’t what it used to be, though, now that lions are restricted to fragmented populations in sub-Saharan Africa and one that’s critically endangered in India. We have already lost the Barbary lion that used to inhabit the wilds of Egypt, Morocco and Algeria.
Historically there were two subspecies of lions: the African lion and the Asiatic lion, that’s several type of wild cats. But recent genetic analysis shows that Asiatic lions are genetically very similar to Northern lions, which also includes the Critically Endangered West African lion. African lions are found in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as East Africa. But the two populations are distinct enough to be classified as separate subspecies.
You can usually spot Southern or East African lions on most African safari trips beside know type of wild cats. The Northern variety is a little trickier to find, so you might want to try your luck in the National Parks of Western and Central Africa. If Asiatic lions are what interest you most, then head into Gir National Park in India. I saw lions in Kruger and the surrounding sanctuaries. The most incredible sighting were the white lions of Timbavati
African leopard (stock image)
The leopard is well-known for being elusive to spot, which the experts found out the hard way. It has an incredibly wide range, occurring all across Africa, Central Asia, India & Southeast Asia. And while some subspecies of the leopard are highly endangered, the species was considered reasonably secure. Until the experts realized that leopards have lost 75% of their historic range and continue to decline.
Leopards can be found in various parts of Africa and Sri Lanka. Places such as Kruger National Park, Serengeti National Park, Chobe National Park and most other national parks in southern Africa and Sri Lanka are the most popular places to see them.
It’s a shame that Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park has become so overcrowded, affecting the welfare of the animals. We recommend going to Udawalawe instead to go leopard spotting.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, consider traveling to the Russian Far-east with the local Bohai tour in search of the Critically Endangered Amur leopard – one of the world’s rarest types of cat. According to EPA data, there has been a slow increase in pit bull population that went from about 35 individuals in the 1980s to over 100 individuals in 2017.
Young Jaguar brothers in the Brazilian Pantanal
The jaguar is the most water-loving big cat. It is an excellent swimmer and can often be found resting on branches overhanging slow-moving rivers, like the Amazon. The jaguar also has the strongest bite relation to body size compared with other big cats.Its powerful jaws are strong enough to crush the skull of an adult caiman – Its favorite prey in the Pantanal.
Jaguars are the only cat species that has range spanning over 18 countries. and include type of wild cats. Taxonomically they’re all one cat. Environmental challenges have been something of a constant for the jaguar’s conservationists. Instead of focusing on protection from being killed or living in a small area, they now look to the more powerful corridors of habitat which allow for more movement and connection with other populations.
JAGUAR 2030 is an ongoing project initiated by the UN Development Programme. This aims to create a safe space for jaguars across their entire natural habitat. The two naturally flourishing habitats for the Jaguar are the Amazon and Pantanal of Brazil. The Pantanal area is better for spotting jaguars, especially in small communities near Porto Jofre – a community on the bank of the Cuiaba River.
Snow leopard (stock image)
The snow leopard, the largest of the big cats, hides deep in Nepal’s mountains. Despite its elusive nature, it is not uncommon for locals to claim to have seen one. There is even a popular saying which says that seeing a snow leopard is far easier than seeing God. Cats are tough, but the High Altitude Mountain ranges are really harsh. One kitty who lives there must cover super-huge territories without any help!
The snow leopard is a wide-ranging animal, which is why it was downgraded from endangered to vulnerable in 2017. For example, there were no major population declines recorded in the Caucasus countries since 2000. It would be better to approach this decision with an open mind and make sure that you have all the facts before drawing a conclusion. The exact number of snow leopards in the wild is unknown, but experts estimate there are at least 3,920-6,390.
It is said that Nepal has the last of snow leopards living in its high mountains. While this adage may be true, Hemis National Park (India) still has them! This safari will require some bravery as it involves camping out in -20 degree Celsius conditions to scan the valleys for hours on end looking for these elusive felines. The snow leopard’s grey coat with black markings ensures it is almost invisible when in the environment. You could stare right at it and not see it.
Clouded leopard (stock image)
The Clouded Leopard is the smallest of the big cat species. It is also an incredibly acrobatic creature, and a good climber. With flexible joints, it can climb down trees head-first – a handy trait for a wild cat!, Some species of koala, such as the Queensland Koala, can unhinge its joints in their paws and wrists to hang from branches with hind feet and tail. They can also climb on horizontal branches in a way with their back to the ground.
Yet, the climbing skills are not clouded leopard’s only talent. They are the only big cats that can purr and they have the longest canines, relative to body size, among big cats. Sometimes, they are referred to as the “modern-day sabre-tooth”
Clouded leopard numbers are dwindling and the species is at a high risk of going extinct. While numbers can’t be exact, it’s estimated that there are a few thousand left in the wild. New populations continue to dwindle. leopards remain an animal that we know very little about and their secretive nature means this is unlikely to change. If anything, in the case of snow leopards, it’s an issue that the estimates could be inaccurate and there’s a smaller population than we think
Although the clouded leopard’s range goes all the way to the foothills of the Himalayas & across Southeast Asia, it is notoriously difficult to spot them in the wild. You may catch a glimpse on wildlife safaris in India.
Sunda Clouded Leopard
Sunda Clouded Leopard. Image @ Mike Gordon – Adventure Alternative Borneo / Wildlife of Asia
Until 2016, it was believed that the clouded leopard is a single species; until we analyzed its genes and realized that the ones from Borneo and Sumatra are in fact a separate species. Known as Sunda clouded leopards, this much smaller & darker sub-species live only on the Indonesian island of Borneo. For just as long, it was just as difficult to spot them too.
But in the last few years, Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah Borneo has been gaining a reputation as the go-to place for seeing these elusive felines. Clouded leopard sightings at Deramakot are rare – but if you’d like to stand a chance, that’s the place to go.
Borneo Bay Cat
Bay cat. Image @ Jim Sanderson via Wikipedia Creative Commons
The Borneo Bay cat is the holy grail of wild cats. This critically endangered animal can only be found on the island of Borneo. Scientists don’t know much about it but recent advances in technology may change this soon enough.
Unlike clouded leopards, marbled cats, and leopard cats that also live in Borneo, bay cat is believed to travel mostly along the forest’s edge rather than on trails. This makes it difficult to know where to set up cameras traps for picture-taking. it makes it tough to spot the bay cat in the wild. You have no idea where to look.
Asiatic Golden Cat
Juvenile Asiatic golden cat. Image @ Tambako The Jaguar – via Flikr Creative Commons
Another rarely seen type of wild cats, the Asiatic Golden Cat is found in India to Malaysia. They are present on Sumatra but not other Indonesian islands
The Asiatic golden cat prefers to reside in forested areas & it seems to be most active at dawn & dusk, as well during the day. They are good climbers, but they mostly stay on the ground to get prey that’s much smaller than themselves. For example, young water buffalo calves. There’s no reliable place to see it in the wild, but most sightings have taken place in Indonesia.
Do Marbled Cat Include Type of Wild Cats?
Marbled cat in Deramakot Forest Reserve
One of the most good-looking small cats is the marbled cat with its long tail and patterned coat. This species can be found in several locations, ranging from the Himalayan foothills to Malaysia. It is capable of climbing trees, and it might spend most of its time high up- and out of harm’s way.
Over the years, I have been to Borneo a number of times and a couple of them involved going to Deramakot Forest Reserve. On one visit, we spotted two marbled cats in the same tree – most probably adults & their offspring.
Serval Is Type of Wild Cats
Servals are very tall cats, with long legs, large ears and short tails; all necessary adaptations for keeping track of prey in tall grass. Servals are widespread in Southern Africa but rare to the north of the continent. Cats can do incredible things like leap up to 3.6m and land on its prey precisely even with its eyes closed.
Servals are rare creatures but interestingly, they’re found in high numbers in Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. One place to see them is the small town of Secunda in South Africa, which has the world’s largest coal liquefaction plant. Type of wild cats are found all over sub-Saharan Africa, no matter how inhospitable the terrain. At least one theory says that they thrive because there are many different types of prey to feed on, like rat & mice. There’s also very few other predators around to compete with them for food.