Cat News Special Issue Nr 5



Legal status and conservation of cat species in China by Lu Jun, Hu Defu, and Yang Liangliang

Thirteen felid species are distributed over all three climatic zones in China: the monsoon area, arid and semi-arid area, and the highaltitude Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. In terms of number of species and extent of distribution area, felids are numerous and widespread in China, and hence the country bears an important responsibility in cat conservation. China is also a country with a long history of agriculture and forestry, both having a great impact on wildlife survival. From ancient time on, the distribution of cats in China has gradually shrunk from plains to mountainous lands, and over the country as a whole, habitat deterioration and destruction are common problems and have led to population declines of wild cats. In relation to the protection of wildlife and habitats, the Chinese government has promulgated some ordinances concerning wildlife protection since 1960, issued the Law of Wildlife Protection in 1988, and is now revising this law.


Cat resesarch in China by Bao Weidong, Xu Jiliang, Cui Guofa and Michael R. Frisina

In this paper we summarize ecological studies and conservation progress of wild cats in China by reviewing and summarizing research published since 1987. We hope this paper will serve as a reference for researchers and policy makers carrying out scientific studies and designing management plans. 


The status of the tiger in China by Luo Shu-Jin

Tigers in China have been reduced to a few, scattered populations with a total number fewer than 50, all with a highly precarious future. This dramatic drop in numbers is primarily due to habitat loss, depletion of their prey base, and human persecution. The tiger is not only an ecological umbrella species, but also has an outstanding cultural significance in China. As in most of the other tiger range countries, habitat loss, overhunting, poaching, and prey depletion are the primary causes for reduction of wild tigers in China. Efforts to conserve tigers in the wild include identifying potential habitats and ecological corridors that are crucial to the survival of free-ranging tigers, developing and implementing regular monitoring systems, conducting status surveys in priority areas to monitor tiger population trends, restoring their prey base particularly the large ungulate prey species, and maintaining or even expanding the existing reserves and sanctuaries.


The snow leopard in China by Philip Riordan and Shi Kun

China contains over 60% of the potential habitat available to snow leopards and the estimated population of between 2,000 and 2,500 individuals accounts for between one-third and up to one-half of the total global population in the wild. Snow leopards have been reported to occupy approximately 1.1 million km² of China’s fragile mountain environments. Using snow leopard habitat suitability ranges from the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy we estimate the area of suitable habitat for snow leopards in China to be 2.1 million km², which is consistent with the estimated 60% of snow leopard habitat being in China. Snow leopards occur principally in the western provinces of the country: Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet and Xinjiang.


Of the only endemic cat species in China: the Chinese mountain cat by Jim Sanderson, Yin Yufeng and Drubgyal Naktsang

The Chinese mountain cat is endemic to China and has a very limited distribution. Very little to no information exists regarding the status or abundance of this elusive Chinese species. Although it has been widely reported across western China, many records are unconfirmed, or have been shown to be misidentified or erroneous. The  only confirmed specimens of the Chinese mountain cat came from the eastern and north-eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai and Sichuan. These two provinces account for all confirmed records of the Chinese mountain cat: eastern Qinghai (Xining, Huzhu, Huangzhong, Ledu, Minhe, Lianca, Tongren, Gonghe, Tianjun, Menyuan, Qilian, Haiyan, Gangca, Datong, Dulan, Golmud, Huangyuan, Zekog, Xinghai, Ulan, Madoi, Yushu, and Nangqen) and north-western Sichuan (Songpan, Garze,Dawu, Dege, Zamtang, Kangding, and Jiuzhaigou).


Eurasian lynx in China: present status and conservation challenges by Bao Weidong

The Eurasian lynx is widely distributed in China from the northeast to the northwest, and has been reported in the northern part of Yunnan Province of Baimaxueshan Nature Reserve, according to local fauna and nature reserve reports. Specific distribution sites were confirmed by local field surveys when nature reserves were established. In northern China the Eurasian lynx is distributed only in the mountainous areas surrounding Daxinganling Mountain. The southern distribution of the Northeast is near the Mulanweichang Nature Reserve. Distribution areas include the forests in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces and the northern part of Inner Mongolia in northeast China. It is believed that no lynx have inhabited Liaoning Province since the 1990s, while in the 1980s lynx had been seen at Huanren County in this province. In the northwest the lynx is seen almost everywhere in Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces as well as western Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region. Lynx are not reported in southern China, indicating that the Eurasian lynx is a palaearctic species adapted to cold weather regions.


Leopard cat by Yu Jinping

The leopard cat is widely distributed over China and exists probably in relatively large numbers compared to other felid species. With the exception of the deserts in the west, dry wilderness areas, and central parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is distributed all over the country. In the 1990s leopard cats have even been reported from the outskirts of Beijing, where they were thought to have disappeared years ago. However, only very few studies have really looked into the present status of the leopard cat in China. The article summarizes the scarce information on the leopard cat.


Leopard by Eva Jutzeler, Wu Zigang, Lui Weishi and Urs Breitenmoser

In Asia, the leopard was originally widely distributed south of about 45°N. Across southwest and central Asia, leopard populations are small, separated and isolated; distribution and present status is however poorly known in most central Asiatic countries. Leopards are believed to be still relatively abundant in the forests of the Indian sub-continent, through Southeast Asia and into China, although they are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. In China, they are still present throughout the east, centre and south. In the 1950s, national campaigns to eradicate pest animals – including tigers and leopards – had a considerable impact on the populations, mainly in the south. Based on purchased skins, 2,000–3,000 leopards were killed each year during the mid 1950s. The Critically Endangered Amur leopard has been reduced to a very small population in Russia, China, and possibly North Korea. The 2007 census revealed 25–34 animals remaining in the wild. Although P. p. orientalis is extremely rare compared to the other subspecies, we know much more about leopards in northeastern China than about those in the rest of the country, because the Amur leopard has received much attention and has also profited from field research and conservation activities focussing on Siberian tigers.


Clouded leopard by by Feng Limin and Eva Jutzeler

The species is widely distributed in China and has been reported to be relatively common in Jiangxi and Anhui in the past. In addition, it is found south of the Yangtse, specimens have been collected in southern Fujian, Hubei and Hainan , it has been recorded in Jiangxi , in central, western and southern Sichuan, and in the Namcha Barwa region in Tibet. In Taiwan it is most likely extinct. Very little is known about the clouded leopard’s status in the wild, as it is elusive and lives mostly in dense vegetation. Most of the information about the species comes from incidental sightings and interviews of locals and forestry workers. The main threats in China for the clouded leopard are habitat degradation and illegal hunting. However, its current status in China is poorly known.


The smaller felids of China by Eva Jutzeler, Xie Yan and Kristina Vogt

Pallas's cat PDF

Asiatic golden cat PDF

Asian wildcat PDF

Jungle cat PDF

Marbled cat PDF

Fishing cat PDF