Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Lorica, R.

Reviewer/s
Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable as its extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 20,000 km², with fewer than 10 subpopulations, and a continuing decline in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, habitat quality, and number of mature individuals. In Panay, it is survives in the remaining forest fragments of Northwest and Central Panay Mountain Range, and was also reported in Sicogon, an island off the northeast coast. In Negros, it was reported in the forests of the North Negros Natural Park, Mt. Kanlaon National Park, and Mt. Talinis-Twin Lakes Natural Park. Is likely to be found also in forest fragments of southern Negros Occidental (i.e. Sipalay-Hinobaan-Candoni area). In addition to the forests of Negros, the leopard cat also inhabits sugarcane farms. In Cebu, it was reported extant in only two areas, Barangays San Jose and Santican in Catmon (Lorica and Oliver unpublished).

All available data - including former (i.e. late Pleistocene) land bridges connecting all the West Visayan as a single land mass), coupled with its recent known distribution and these animal’s evident tolerance to a wide variety of habitat types – suggest that leopard cats were formerly widely distributed through the ‘West Visayan (or ‘Negros-Panay’) Faunal Region’, and have therefore been extirpated from at least 90-95% of their presumed former range and are still declining. The West Visayas has also suffered the worst rates of deforestation within the Philippines, wherein total forest cover has been reduced to less than 180,000 ha and 4 (of the 6) main islands now have less than 0.01% remaining forest cover. What little forest remains is also highly fragmented, often degraded and usually subject to further attrition and other disturbances through the illegal collection of timber and other forest products. Hunting pressure poses an additional serious threat in some areas, and although leopard cats are seldom specifically targeted by hunters, they are frequently ensnared in traps set for other species and/or captured on an opportunistic basis. Outlying subpopulations inhabiting sugar cane farms in primary sugar areas on Negros Occidental, are also subject to opportunistic hunting pressure (especially during can harvesting) and/or widespread use of rodenticides and other agro-poisons.
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Population

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Wikipedia

Visayan leopard cat

The Visayan leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis rabori) is a recently described subspecies on the basis of morphological analysis, although genetic analysis in progress is necessary to confirm its taxonomic distinction. It is included here provisionally; the West Visayan faunal region (the Philippine islands of Panay, Negros and Cebu) is separated from the Sunda shelf islands (including the Philippine island of Palawan) by deep water channels. It is likely to have undergone a long period of isolation and the region shows a high degree of endemism in mammals.

Justification[edit]

The Visayan Leopard Cat is listed as Vulnerable as its extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 20,000 km², with fewer than 10 subpopulations, and a continuing decline in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, habitat quality, and number of mature individuals. In Panay, it is survives in the remaining forest fragments of Northwest and Central Panay Mountain Range, and was also reported in Sicogon, an island off the northeast coast. In Negros, it was reported in the forests of the North Negros Natural Park, Mt. Kanlaon National Park, and Mt. Talinis-Twin Lakes Natural Park. Is likely to be found also in forest fragments of southern Negros Occidental (i.e. Sipalay-Hinobaan-Candoni area). In addition to the forests of Negros, the leopard cat also inhabits sugarcane farms. In Cebu, it was reported extant in only two areas, Barangays San Jose and Santican in Catmon (Lorica and Oliver unpublished).

All available data - including former (i.e. late Pleistocene) land bridges connecting all the West Visayan as a single land mass), coupled with its recent known distribution and these animal’s evident tolerance to a wide variety of habitat types – suggest that leopard cats were formerly widely distributed through the ‘West Visayan (or ‘Negros-Panay’) Faunal Region’, and have therefore been extirpated from at least 90-95% of their presumed former range and are still declining. The West Visayas has also suffered the worst rates of deforestation within the Philippines, wherein total forest cover has been reduced to less than 180,000 ha and 4 (of the 6) main islands now have less than 0.01% remaining forest cover. What little forest remains is also highly fragmented, often degraded and usually subject to further attrition and other disturbances through the illegal collection of timber and other forest products. Hunting pressure poses an additional serious threat in some areas, and although leopard cats are seldom specifically targeted by hunters, they are frequently ensnared in traps set for other species and/or captured on an opportunistic basis. Outlying subpopulations inhabiting sugar cane farms in primary sugar areas on Negros Occidental, are also subject to opportunistic hunting pressure (especially during can harvesting) or probable widespread use of rodenticides and other agro-poisons.

Difficulties raising litter[edit]

It is clear that the Visayan leopard cat often mothers frequently and gives birth in sugar cane fields, presumably attracted by dense cover and an ample supply of rats and other agricultural pests. It is not clear whether pregnant cats migrate into the cane fields from neighboring forest patches to give birth, or whether they permanently inhabit agricultural areas. In either case, the harvesting of this plant has disastrous consequences for any females rearing litters, which they are then forced to abandon.

However, most kittens orphaned in this way die before or shortly after they reach the rescue centers, probably from dehydration or other factors relating to their age and the length of time between their capture and arrival at the center (often several days). Improved personnel training, access to expert advice, better equipment, better milk substitutes and imported vaccines all can contribute to improving their chances of survival.

These cats almost certainly represent the only captive stock, though even this number of individuals is now putting a severe strain on available resources.

References[edit]

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