Save the Flat-Headed Cat

  • by: Edo R
  • recipient: International Union for Conservation of Nature

The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is a small wild cat patchily distributed in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo and Sumatra. Since 2008, it has been listed as endangered by the IUCN due to destruction of wetlands in their habitat. It is suspected that the effective population size could be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals, with no subpopulation having an effective population size larger than 250 adult individuals.

Flat-headed cats are primarily threatened by wetland and lowland forest destruction and degradation. Causes of this destruction include human settlement, forest transformation to plantations, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, wood-cutting and fishing. In addition, clearance of coastal mangroves over the past decade has been rapid in tropical Asia. The depletion of fish stocks from over-fishing is prevalent in many Asian wetland environments and is likely to be a significant threat. Expansion of oil palm plantations is currently viewed as the most urgent threat. They are also threatened by trapping, snaring and poisoning. They have been captured in traps set out to protect domestic fowl.

The flat-headed cat is included on CITES Appendix I. The felid is fully protected by national legislation over its range, with hunting and trade prohibited in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

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