Wild Cats of Africa Poster
Wild Cats of Africa Poster by Roger Hall

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The following list of the ten wild cat species of Africa comprises three big cat species and seven small cat species.

Details include the common name, scientific name (species name), subspecies and IUCN Red List status (@ Nov 2021).

Three of the wild cats are endemic to Africa (only occur in Africa) and the other seven wild cats also occur in Asia.

Download List of Ten Wild Cat Species of Africa.pdf

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Wild Cat

Common name

Scientific name

IUCN Red List Status



African Lion (Panthera leo)


Panthera leo

Vulnerable (VU)

  • Panthera leo leo - Central and West Africa and India
  • Panthera leo melanochaita - Southern and Eastern Africa


African Leopard (Panthera pardus)


Panthera pardus

Vulnerable (VU)

  • Panthera pardus pardus - Africa
  • Panthera pardus tulliana - South West Asia
  • Panthera pardus fusca - India
  • Panthera pardus kotiya - Sri Lanka
  • Panthera pardus delacouri - South East Asia
  • Panthera pardus orientalis - Eastern Asia
  • Panthera pardus melas - Java
  • Panthera pardus nimr - Arabia


African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)


Acinonyx jubatus

Vulnerable (VU)

  • Acinonyx jubatus jubatus - Southern and Eastern Africa
  • Acinonyx jubatus hecki - West and North Africa
  • Acinonyx jubatus soemmerringi - North East Africa
  • Acinonyx jubatus venaticus - South West Asia and India


African Caracal Cat (Caracal caracal)


Caracal caracal

Least Concern (LC)

  • Caracal caracal caracal - Southern and East Africa
  • Caracal caracal nubicus - North and West Africa
  • Caracal caracal schmitzi - Middle East to India


African Serval Cat (Leptailurus serval)


Leptailurus serval

Least Concern (LC)

Endemic to Africa


  • Leptailurus serval serval - Southern Africa
  • Leptailurus serval constantina - West and Central Africa
  • Leptailurus serval lipostictus - East Africa


African Golden Cat

Caracal aurata

Vulnerable (VU)

Endemic to Africa


  • Caracal aurata aurata - East and Central Africa
  • Caracal aurata celidogaster - West Africa


Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

Jungle Cat

Felis chaus

Least Concern (LC)


  • Felis chaus chaus - Egypt and Middle East to Turkestan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan
  • Felis chaus affinis - East Afghanistan, Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka
  • Felis chaus fulvidina - SE Asia, including China


African Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica)

African-Asiatic Wildcat

Felis lybica

Least Concern (LC)

  • Felis lybica lybica - East, West and North Africa to the Middle East
  • Felis lybica cafra - Southern Africa
  • Felis lybica ornata - Asian range


Sand Cat (Felis margarita)

Sand Cat

Felis margarita

Least Concern (LC)

  • Felis margarita margarita - North Africa
  • Felis margarita thinobia - Southwest Asia and Arabian Peninsula


Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)

Black-footed Cat

Felis nigripes

Vulnerable (VU)

Endemic to Africa




IUCN Red List Status: IUCN 2021. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-2. https://www.iucnredlist.org/.

Taxonomy:  Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group. Cat News Special Issue 11, 80pp.

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