Unlike their larger cousins such as lions and tigers with millions of dollars dedicated to conservation efforts, small but beautiful wild cats like those below have not found a place in the hearts of the public, and conservation efforts exist on budgets in the thousands.
The Andean Mountain Cat is one of the least known and rarest of all felines; almost all that is known about it comes from a few observations in the wild and from skins. There are none in captivity. It is believed to live only in the high Andes mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. The total estimated population is only about 2500.
Pallas’s Cat is the oldest living species. It is about the size of a domestic cat. The combination of its stocky posture and long, dense fur makes it appear stout and plushy. It inhabits the Asian steppes between heights of 1,000 and 4,000 metres.
Fishing Cats live along rivers, streams and mangrove swamps in South East Asia.. It is well adapted to this habitat, being an eager and skilled swimmer. The Fishing Cat is endangered due to its dependence on wetlands, which are increasingly being settled and converted for agriculture.
The Sand cat, also referred to as the “sand dune cat”, is a small wild cat distributed over African and Asian deserts. They are a relatively small, stocky, cat with short legs, a long tail, and large, pointed, ears. In 2007, the first four kittens were born in captivity at the Al Ain Zoo in the United Arab Emirates as an effort to preserve the local fauna.
The Margay is a spotted cat native to Central and South America. It is a solitary and nocturnal animal that prefers remote sections of the rainforest. Although it was once believed to be vulnerable to extinction, the IUCN now lists it as “Near Threatened”. It roams the rainforests from Mexico to Argentina.