NOWELL, K. & JACKSON, P. (1996)

Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan - Wild Cats.

IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group. IUCN Gland. 382 pp. ISBN-2-8317-0045-0.


The publication resents the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available on the 36 wild cats of the world. It includes the first published collection of detailed range maps and some of the first photographs of rare species in the wild. It provides a thorough review of major issues in cat conservation such as habitat loss and management of big cats in livestock areas; field and laboratory research; international trade; the role of zoos; and reintroduction. High priority are identified to further the cause of cat conservation.


The Cat Action Plan Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan consists of a review and analysis of information relevant to the conservation of wild cats, and a priority action program.

Part I provides summaries of the biology, ecology, distribution, and conservation status of each cat species. These Species Accounts are organized under five geopolitical regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and southwest Asia, Tropical Asia, Eurasia, and the Americas.

Part II examines the major issues pertinent to the conservation of all cats: habitat loss, management of big cats near people, research, trade, cats in captivity, and reintroduction. Parts I and II together form a comprehensive reference for people interested in cats and their conservation. The information contained within is a demonstration of the work of cat specialists, and it is hoped that the rich and multi-faceted picture of cats and their conservation which emerges will stimulate more people to become active on behalf of the wild cats. Wild Cats is more, however, than an authoritative reference work. It is a strategic planning document which prescribes methods for making cat conservation more effective. These principles of cat conservation, which can be drawn from the text, prioritize conservation action on both international and regional levels. The principles also serve as a framework to aid local authorities in planning their own cat conservation priorities.

Part III, the Action Plan itself, presents 105 projects that build on the data and recommendations presented previously, and focus the general principles of cat conservation. Drawn up by the Cat Specialist Group, they concentrate on the most vulnerable species and are priorities for cat conservation in the 1990s. Implementation of these projects forms the mission of the Cat Specialist Group over the coming decade. If these projects realize their objectives, the family Felidae should enter the 21st century in good shape. The priority projects listed in the Action Plan, for the most part, are in need of (1) financial support and (2) researchers and others to work on them. Those interested in funding, carrying out, or helping with any of these projects should contact the Vice Chairman, Projects for details: Kristin Nowell, 2520-4,41st St. NW, Washington DC 20007, U.S.A.

An Executive Summary of Wild Cats prefaces Part I. In addition, the “Major Issues” chapters of Part II end in short summary sections which outline key points. A regional index to species vulnerability, which generally indicates species conservation priority, prefaces each regional chapter in Part I, the Species Accounts. The introduction to the Species Accounts explains how species vulnerability is ranked. Part III, the Action Plan, is organized according to the topics examined in Part II and the species order of Part I.

The Cat Specialist Group
The IUCNKSC Cat Specialist Group is the world’s premier body of scientific and practical expertise on wild cats and their conservation. Over 160 members (see Appendix 5) represent 50 countries and include field biologists, wildlife managers, government officials, leaders of nongovernmental organizations which focus on cat conservation, and other specialists from diverse but interrelated fields including taxonomy, genetics, environmental law, wildlife trade and use, conservation education and wildlife photography, small population biology and captive breeding, and wildlife veterinary medicine. These people serve as Cat Specialist Group members in their personal capacities, but bring with them the experience and the knowledge gained in their professional careers. They volunteer the best of their thinking, and also, in many cases, their time and services, for cat conservation. This document represents the Group’s first major collective effort to review what has been accomplished in the past, and to prepare a strategic plan for future action.

Through its members, the Cat Specialist Group maintains a substantial collective library. The Group plans to consolidate and disseminate this resource by establishing a Cat Conservation Data Center (see priority project in Part III). The Chairman publishes a biannual newsletter, Cat News, which is circulated to members of the group. It is available to anyone else who makes an annual donation to a special fund in the name of “Friends of the Cat Group.”

For more information about the Cat Specialist Group, contact: Peter Jackson, Chairman, IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Route des Macherettes, 1172 Bougy-Villars, Switzerland, Tel + Fax: +41 (21) 808 6012, email: peterjackson@gn.apc.org or c/o the Species Survival Commission, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, 1196 Gland, Switzerland, Tel: +41 (22) 999 0001, Fax: +41 (22) 999 0015, email: mgd@hq.iucn.ch (attn jackson).



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