Cats of Africa: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

Cats of Africa: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

Luke Hunter

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 0801884829

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Africa's wild cats have long been a focus of fascination and intrigue among travelers and wildlife lovers. Alongside the big three―lion, leopard, and cheetah―Africa is home to another seven species of cats: the caracal, serval, African wildcat, black-footed cat, African golden cat, jungle cat, and sand cat.

With photographer Gerald Hinde's stunning, crisp, graphic images, Luke Hunter presents a comprehensive overview of the entire cat family in Africa―the only place on Earth where sightings of wild cats are a regular occurrence. He discusses in detail feline anatomy, predation and hunting strategies, social systems, competition and conflict, and conservation and threats, offering the reader the most current research and findings.

From the famous and popular African parks with their celebrated, safari-friendly felines, to the few remaining places on the continent uninhabited by humans, Cats of Africa offers superb and exciting images of the animals from a variety of locations, depicting rare and interesting behavior, some of which has never before been recorded.

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a gradual cooling and drying for millions of years at the time Pseudaelurus arrived, so that the humid, dense forests during the time of Proailurus were giving way to open savanna woodlands and plains. Ungulates, primates, rodents and birds emerged from the forests, evolving into a multitude of new forms to exploit the abundant grasses, and tubers that arose in open habitats. Pseudaelurus followed them and, as its prey species evolved larger body size and greater speed to evade predators in open

ground, taking 45 minutes to kill it, have successfully hunted – but are they comparable events? Perhaps the most meaningful answer is that cats are as proficient as they need to be. To most adult cats, starvation is a rare threat, which means that they are at least efficient enough to survive. For females raising cubs, the stakes are higher and, under conditions of extreme food shortages, cubs may be abandoned (see Chapter 4). However, excluding these relatively rare events, cats are clearly

sport hunting trophies, live animals and a small number of skins sold commercially: 2005 total quota 2 570. CITES Appendix I, IUCN Red List Least Concern (2002). Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus Size Females: 21–63 kg; 67–84 cm at shoulder, 174–236* cm nose to tail. Males: 29–65 kg; 74–94 cm at shoulder, 172–224 cm nose to tail. * Generally females are smaller and lighter than males but sexual dimorphism is less pronounced than in other large cats and sexes overlap somewhat in length. Longevity Up

status Thought to be naturally rare though no accurate data are available. Loss of habitat is the greatest threat. Marked range loss at the edges of forested equatorial Africa. West and East African moist forests are heavily degraded with large areas of former golden cat habitat converted to savanna. Bush meat hunting in West and Central Africa heavily impacts prey species, possibly driving declines of golden cats. Killed fairly frequently for bush meat and fetish markets which may further

drinking water. Social organisation Solitary. Unknown if territorial, possibly only weakly so if arid habitats determine low densities and large ranges. Three male ranges in Israel overlapped extensively. Only published range size is a male 16 km2 (Israel). Reproduction Gestation 59–67 days. Litter size 2–8, average 3. Weaned around 5 weeks, sexually mature 9–14 months. Oestrus lasts 5–6 days, with 46 day cycles (captivity). Breeding is seasonal in the Sahara; mating Nov–Feb, kittens born

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