Wild Cats of India

I’m sure many of us aren't aware of the splendid diversity of wild cats we have in our country, apart from the elusive tigers and charismatic leopards of the feline family. So let’s take a tour of these felines in today’s blog post.

Wild felines such as the Asiatic Desert Cat, Pallas's Cat, Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat and the Asian Golden Cat are all found in our country. Many of these cats have not been studied in detail and there are some aspects about these cats that still remain unknown. Some of them have been given the status 'vulnerable', i.e., the wild population of these animals are reducing from their habitat. Also, these cats are spread out in different parts of the country. Most of these cats are rarely seen out in the open. We can also say that its easier to spot a leopard or a tiger than many of these mysterious cats!

Moving ahead, apart from the Indian Leopard that we are well-acquainted with, there are two more types of leopards that can be seen in our country i.e., the Snow Leopard and the Clouded Leopard. The Snow Leopard is mainly found in the mountainous range of the Himalayas that include Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand. And the Clouded Leopard is restricted to the north-eastern states of India. 

Caracal and Eurasian Lynx are some more interesting felines that are found in India. The Caracal prefers a dry semi-desert habitat and the Eurasian Lynx is likely to be seen in the Himalayan range of the country.

The Asiatic Lions are found in the Gir Forests of Gujarat. Once, their range included the whole Indian subcontinent, but due to extensive hunting and destruction of its habitat, now they have been reduced to just 411 Asiatic Lions (Census of 2005).

India used to have a good population of Asiatic Cheetahs during the British regime. The ‘Maharajas’ and 'Nawabs' of our country would tame these animals and use them as a hunting tool to capture blackbuck and several other animals. We eventually drove it to extinction due to this extensive habit of taming and hunting the animal. At present, India has lost all its cheetahs and the remaining Critically Endangered Asiatic Cheetahs can only be found in the country of Iran.

And finally, two of the most famous big cats of our country, the Indian Leopard and the Bengal Tiger. The future of both these cats are in jeopardy for various reasons. The Bengal Tiger is still being poached rampantly for its fur and body parts. And the leopards is striving to co-exist among us, despite the fact that we have taken away most of its habitat for our needs.

Despite all this, I'm sure that with little effort from our side, we will be able to see a brighter future for both the wild cats and humans.

Do let us know what you think about today's blog post. Would you like to share some of your ideas and stories with us? Send in your articles and photos and we would be glad to publish them in the next issue of our monthly newsletter - Green Runner!


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