IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category Year Assessed
Endangered Red List Criteria
de Oliveira, T., Schipper, J. & Gonzalez-Maya, J.F. Reviewer/s
Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) Contributor/s Justification
L.t. oncilla appears to have a very restricted range in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica and northern Panama, with the extent of occurrence shown on the map roughly calculated as 16,000 km² (J. Schipper pers. comm. 2008). The area of occupancy is likely much smaller. Costa Rica's 5,000 km² La Amistad NP may represent the best area for conservation of this taxon, with the range to the north probably severely fragmented. However, in four years of camera-trapping in and around La Amistad NP (which obtained many photo captures of other felids), there was only one photograph taken of oncilla in the region (Chirripo NP at 3,300 m in 2007) (J. Schipper pers. comm. 2008; Gonzalez-Maya, 2008). Records and observations of this taxon relative to sympatric small felids have historically been scarce (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The Central American oncilla appears to occur at low densities, as it does in parts of South America, possibly due to interspecific competition with the ocelot (Oliveira et al. in press). Average densities calculated from camera trap encounters in Brazil range from 1-5 adults per 100 km² where ocelots are present (Oliveira et al. in submission). If these densities are representative of the Central American little spotted cat, then its effective population size is projected to be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with no subpopulation larger than 250 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to habitat loss and fragmentation. More research in Costa Rica and Panama is needed to obtain better data on abundance and improve the precision of assessment of degree of threat. More taxonomic research is also required to determine whether this taxa should be recognized at the species, rather than subspecies level, and whether its range includes southern Panama and northern South America (Johnson et al. 1999).