The cat family divides into 2 large groups:
the big cats and the purring cats. The big/large cats have 5 representatives-
lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards/panthers and jaguars [all of them
being endangered species, cheetahs and tigers the most]. All the other
known cats [like the house cat] fall into the second category. Although
it's not usually admitted, most cat species [except perhaps the house cat]
are slowly becoming extinct. For instance even though there are about 100
000 lions left [which is by my opinion
a very low number], lions need to live in areas, which let them connect
and breed freely. Probably the biggest wildlife reserve is the Serengeti,
where about 2000 lions live- this number was 3000 a few years back, but
a virus jumped/crossed species [dogs => lions] and killed over a third
of Serengeti`s lion population.
Around 700 lions need to live in a connected area to retain their genetic pool without inbreeding. Right now only 2 areas in the world qualify for that. There are only 15 000 cheetahs left, seriously threatened by their own specialization and with the number dropping, another problem is uprising- their genetic variability. Scientists have discovered that sometime in the past the number of cheetahs fell rapidly, making the only option for them to survive inbreeding. Most of now existing cheetahs are very closely related to each other.
The most successful is the story of the leopard. Due to it's capability to adapt and live in a variety of different terrains there are about 500 000 left, but they also are being hunted to extinction for their coats. The tiger is probably the most endangered cat [only around 5000 remaining]. Although protected and well capable of taking care of itself, it's being hunted for it's pelt, bones, it's living space is drastically shrinking and even though there are very few tigers left, there are still too many to live on such small space [right now there are more tigers in captivity then in the wild].
|About- LIONS||Gallery- LIONS|
|About- TIGERS||Gallery- TIGERS|
|About- CHEETAHS||Gallery- CHEETAHS|
|About- LEOPARDS||Gallery- LEOPARDS|
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