Who are we?
Felis are a 100% non-profit organisation set up for the sole purpose of raising funds to support Panthera’s small cat action fund (SCAF). This fund has the specific task of helping fund research to aid conservation of the Worlds small wild cats. We also hope that by linking to cat specific research projects it will give you an opportunity to find out more about specific projects that are happening around the world and lending them your support where possible.
Who are Panthera?
Panthera are also 100% non profit organisation set up to help the worlds endangered and threatened cats. Their main focus is on the larger wild cats but do accept and consider grant applications for research on smaller cats. This fund is called The Small Cat Action Fund (SCAF) and is a grants program established by Panthera in partnership with the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. Every penny donated to this will go to in situ conservation and research activities on small cat species as Panthera is supported financially in whole by its founder and chairman American Entrepreneur Thomas. S. Kaplan.
Read more about Panthera’s mission here: https://www.panthera.org/our-mission
Everyone is aware of the threats faced by the large wild cats on Planet Earth. The numbers of Tigers, Lions and other larger cat species are at critical levels and these animals need to be helped. Their precarious existence is well known and understood. However there are a numerous species of smaller wild cats who are lesser known but their plight is just as precarious and their need just as important.
This website has been created to raise awareness of those small cats and to raise money to fund research and support conservation projects to help protect these beautiful wild creatures. This site you will show you cat species you will probably not have heard of, from the wonderfully fluffy Pallas’s Cat who lives in the highlands of Central Asia, to the tiny Sand Cat from the deserts of North Africa. It also describes some of the projects which are helping these cats and you can directly donate much needed money to support research and conservation.
In this way you will be doing your bit to ensure that these beautiful cats are here for future generations to enjoy.
What defines a ‘small’ wild cat and why are they important?
Ask anyone to name a wild cat and they will typically come back to you with one of the big two, a tiger or lion. Both are endangered, tigers critically so, with just an estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild. Both are also figureheads for conservation and get lots of coverage in the media. Small cats in that respect are often ignored. Ask many people to name a wild cat outside of the ‘big five’ (lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs) and many will struggle. Some of the small wild cats we detail on this site are so rare they have only been caught on camera a couple of times.
The Andean cat is a perfect example of the small wild cats need for research. So little is known about this cat’s conservation, groups so far are unsure how to help. There is only an estimated 2,500 Andean cats, however so little is known about this cat we don’t even know if it’s rarity can be attributed to man or if its rarity is just a misconception due to lack of sightings. Most facts that we know about the Andean cat come from discovered skins and skulls of the animal and at the time of writing only two scientists have had the opportunity to study this cat in the wild. We have no information on its reproductive activities, its longevity or even whether it’s a social animal or if it’s solitary as the one cat viewed was on its own.
There are now 40 recognized species of wild cats and whilst there isn’t really a technical definition for ‘Small Cats’ this website details 31 of the smaller cats. Where they can be seen, what they like to eat, their size and some photos and video’s to increase the awareness of these animals. More importantly though it will keep you up-to-date with ongoing cat specific conservation efforts and ways in which you can help.
Rowan Hartgroves – Founder of FELIS
‘‘It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living” – David Attenborough