5 most endangered cat species of the world
If you love cats, big and small, you might want to read on. Believe it or not, the future is bleak for some species of cats. These animals have slowly been cornered with dwindling habitats and human encroachment into their territory, illegal hunting and shortage of food.
Here is a list of the most endangered cat species of the world:
Estimates put their population between 2,710 and 3,386 individuals. The iconic Snow Leopard of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas is definitely threatened. They are rare and elusive creatures and their numbers continue to fall despite many conservation efforts to save them.
With scattered populations in South East Asia, the Fishing Cat remains vulnerable and is even deemed to have become extinct in some areas of Vietnam, Laos, and Java. These cats survive in rivers and in mangrove swamps in Asia, primarily in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. They are skilled swimmers and depend on wetlands for their food. Scientists are yet to ascertain reliable population estimates. Factors responsible for declining numbers include conflicts with humans and habitat loss.
A native of the Iberian Peninsula, the Iberian Lynx is currently most threatened with a population estimate of approximately 400 mature individuals and growing. These animals pride themselves at being expert rabbit hunters. But ironically, they have fallen prey to disease outbreaks that have occurred after killing rabbits. Though hunting them is illegal now and their habitat is protected they remain victims of car hits, feral dogs and poaching.
The Flat-headed Cat
Hardly known, these cats inhabit the inland peat swamps and mangrove forests of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Only about 2500 remain in the wild as a consequence of the destruction of the wetlands. Previously, also found in Thailand, now they've become extinct in that country. The loss of habitat that results when wetlands are converted into palm oil plantations means that these animals are headed towards doom.
Borneo Bay Cats
Only an estimated 2,200 mature cats currently inhabit a secluded range on the island of Borneo. The animals are the size of a large house cat with a chestnut-colored body and a grayish-brown head. They have two dark stripes that run from the corners of their eyes to their whiskers. They also have a dark mark on the back of their head that looks like the letter M Deforestation of their habitat for commercial logging and oil palm plantations is turning out to be the primary reason for their disappearance.