The World’s Rarest Cats

The 21st century is marked not only by new technologies but also by an ever growing number of extinct and endangered animals. Apart from the extinct animals we will never see, these rare felines are so few since they are either threatened by loss of habitat or they have suffered from rare color mutation. Take a look at the rarest animals in the world!

The Maltese Tiger

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The Blue tiger was reported mostly from the Fujian Province of China, being characterized by a bluish fur with dark stripes. The Maltese tigers have been reported as a subspecies of the South Chinese tiger, that is critically endangered. A blue tiger cub was born in 1964, in the Oklahoma Zoo, but died in its infancy. There are no blue tigers in zoos or private collections, and no known blue tiger pelts.

The Golden Tabby Tiger
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The golden tiger has its white coat and gold patches due to an extremely rare colour variation caused by a recessive gene. Around 30 tigers are believed to exist in the world but many more are carriers of the gene. Records of the golden or strawberry tiger date back to the 1900s, in India. The first golden tiger cub born in captivity was in 1983 and this came from standard colored Bengal tigers.

The Iberian Lynx
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The world’s most endangered cat in terms of species, out of the total of 36, stands on the edge of extinction. Despite all the efforts to save it, only around 100 felines remain, divided between two unconnected breeding populations in Andalusia. The Lynx’s extinction that will soon follow will be the first extinction of a world feline. This is due to the decimation of the rabbit, its favorite prey, by diseases such as myxomatosis and VHD. Rabbits make up 75-100% of lynxes’ diet, the cat only needing one a day. The Iberian Lynx currently holds the record for being world’s most threatened species of cat, and the most threatened carnivore in Europe.

The Amur Leopard

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This is the rarest subspecies of leopard, and closely competing for the title of the rarest cat on Earth. Amur leopards are very distinct from other leopards, having long lengs and hair, which allows them to live in cold areas. It is threatened by habitat destruction, being especially vulnerable to fires since they live in forested territories. Field survey data estimates that there are fewer than 50 leopards left in the wild and around 200 in captivity, mostly found in zoos in North America and throughout Europe. On April 16, 2007 a female was shot and killed by hunters, leaving only six females left in the wild.

The White Lion (Panthera leo krugeri)

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For centuries, rumors about the white lion spread from South Africa all over the world. It was not until 1975 that actual sightings confirmed this mysterious cat’s existence. Two white lion cubs were brought at the Timbavati Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park. Even if they are provided with the best living conditions, the mortality rate for white lions is quite high. They have difficulties in catching their prey and they are extremely vulnerable to hyena attacks. The white color is explained by a rare color mutation, namely a recessive gene known as chinchilla or color inhibitor, perpetuated by many zoos in the world. The population of the white lion is not exactly known but the most recent count was in 2004, showing that 300 were alive at the time.

The Black Lion
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Another rare color mutation is the the black lion, not considered a distinct species or geographic race. Although many sightings have been reported, only two reliable reports exist. The archaeologist Sir Henry Layard discovered one in Persia, describing it as “very dark brown in colour, in parts almost black.” A black lion was held in captivity, but the coloring was probably due to mosaicism or abnormal skin cells. Other very vague claims of reddish and chocolate brown lions also exist, but they remain only claims. The African in the picture is has an uncommon dark color for that big cat but does not display melanism.

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(source)

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. millie
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:29:38

    It’s disgusting that we’ve forced these amazing animals to the brink. They’re so beautiful.

    Reply

  2. A.A.H
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:30:10

    It’s horrible that people are mindlessly killing these creatures thinking that they multiply as fast as they kill them. We are animals too and how would they feel if suddenly we were hunted for nothing more than our pelts? I wish there was something more we could do to help these beautiful animals.

    Reply

  3. Parker
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:30:43

    why dont we just collect their DNA for later usage when the technology is great enough that we can make “replicas” of them????

    Reply

  4. sammy
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:31:15

    parker- clones are not exact replicas. to make clones of animals is dangerous and not 100 % fool proof. you also would have to have a warehouse or “stockyard” of the animals to collect eggs for cloning.
    Leetah- there is a lot you can do. donate to wildlife preserves, volunteer your time, go to school for animal science and make a career out of hands on experience with beautiful animals like these. One of the tiger preserves recently trained two cubs to hunt so they could be returned to the wild to help propagate their species. I believe this aired on the discovery channel during tiger week. unfortunately, the tigers were not released due to lack of funding. if people could spare a bit of cash (not everyone can, but those who can) should

    Reply

  5. catreeen
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:32:05

    They are so beautiful its true who really are the animals Cat…

    Reply

  6. tuna
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:32:33

    Beautiful animals! It’s a shame that their numbers are so very low :(

    Reply

  7. poppy
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:33:41

    hi,
    my name is poppy and i love lions they are sooooooo cute and i think you have done really well to get theses picrturs of lions . i am trying to discover a new spices of lion, it is the black lions…. good luck finding a new spices of lion…..

    Reply

  8. reena
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:34:07

    its alarming to know that there these endangered animals are few left in the world let us help save their habitat by keeping our environment clean and free from pollution because if this will continue thier home will be burned out by the global warming due to polution that we are doing

    Reply

  9. LEE
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:34:54

    i very much love these cats.

    they are absolutly beautiful

    wow…..:)

    Reply

  10. cat _women
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:35:21

    i think the tigers are so gourges but wy would we kill them to almost disapearing

    Reply

  11. mick
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:36:08

    It breaks my heart to know that so many of these big cats may not be around for much longer if we continue on this path. Websites like this are great to create awareness, but how can people help? Where can people donate time and money?

    Reply

  12. sim
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:39:12

    THE BLUE TIGER TURNS YOUR HEAD HE OR SHE IS LIKE NATURE’S FLOWERS THERE ARE VERY FEW BLUE FLOWERS IN THE WORLD AND THIS CAT IS WITHOUT A DOUBT A VERY BEAUTIFUL ANIMAL SIN IS WHAT CAUSES MAN TO BE SO DESTRUCTIVE IT JUST PLAIN ME, ME ME ATTITUDE THESE ARE GOD’S CREATIONS AND IN THE BEGINNING THEY ATE THE GRASSES OF THE FIELD THE REST IS HISTORY

    Reply

  13. gig
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:39:38

    You forgot to mention the Iriomote Cat. Its pretty rare too I guess.

    Reply

  14. sian
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:39:58

    I LOVE TIGERS.THEY ARE MY FAVE CATS IN THE WORLD.I CAN’T BELIVE THEY ARE VERY RARE IN SOME COUNTREYS.

    Reply

  15. destiny
    Feb 07, 2010 @ 04:40:20

    There is also the iriomote cat.It is said to be the rarest feline of them all.

    Reply

  16. David
    Feb 15, 2010 @ 20:35:27

    Thank you for the information and beautiful pictures. In National Geographic I saw a picture about 15 years ago. There were two known cats (male and female) in China. They were thought to be extinct. I believe it was north China and the picture was from the mountains.

    I wonder if they exist. Looked about the size of a bob cat.

    Reply

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