Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae

Scientific Name: Leopardus colocolo
Species Authority: (Molina, 1782)
Common Name(s):
English Pampas Cat, Chilean Pampa Cat
French Chat Des Pampas
Spanish Gato De Los Pajonales, Gato Pajero
Lynchailurus colocolo (Molina, 1782)
Oncifelis colocolo (Molina, 1782)
Taxonomic Notes: Garcia Perea (1994) proposed that this species be subdivided into 3 separate species (Lynchailurus colocolo, L. pajeros, and L. braccatus) based on morphological traits. This was provisionally followed by Wozencraft (2005). However, genetic analysis supports the existence of populations subdivision in this species, but not at the species level (Johnson et al. 1999, Eizirik et al. submitted). The genetic partitioning (Uruguay and southern Brazil; Bolivia and northern Chile; and western Argentina and central Chile: Johnson et al. 1999) is somewhat different from the divisions recognized by Garcia-Perea (1994) on the basis of morphology (central Chile; the Andes from Ecuador and south to through Argentina; and Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil). Moreover, Cossios and Angers (2007) found six highly divergent clades in genetic analysis of Andean populations (Peru, Bolivia and Argentina). Subspeciation and geographic divisions in this species requires further study. Placed in the genus Leopardus by Johnson et al. (2006) and Eizirik et al. (submitted).

A zone of hybridization between L. colocolo and L. tigrinus has been found through genetic analyses of speciemns from central Brazil (Johnson et al. 1999, Eizirik et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Pereira, J., Lucherini, M., de Oliveira, T., Eizirik, E., Acosta, G. & Leite-Pitman, R.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
The pampas cat is classified as Near Threatened because future population declines resulting from habitat conversion may result in its qualifying for Vulnerable under criterion A3 (IUCN Cats Red List Workshop 2007).
Previously published Red List assessments:
2002 Near Threatened (NT)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Indeterminate (I)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The pampas cat, named after Argentine grasslands, ranges throughout most of Argentina and southern Uruguay beyond into the dry forests (chaco, cerrado) of Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil, and north through the Andes mountain chain through Ecuador and possibly marginally into southwestern Colombia (Silveira 1995, Ruiz-Garcia et al. 2003, Nowell and Jackson 1996, Dotta et al. 2007). Pereira et al. (2002) found few recent records for this species in the Argentine pampas region, however. Most records (83.5%) are from a semi-arid climatic strip that enters northwestern Argentina as a continuation of the Andes mountains and expands further south towards the coastal areas by the Atlantic ocean.

In the high Andes, although it has been recorded at over 5,000 m (Nowell and Jackson 1996), most records are from lower elevations, in comparison to the similar-appearing Andean cat L. jacobita . In northern Argentina, the mean elevation for pampas cat records was 3,567 +/- 67, as compared to 4,236 +/- 140 for the Andean cat (Perovic et al., 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Chile; Ecuador; Paraguay; Peru; Uruguay
Upper elevation limit (metres): 5000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Silveira et al. (2005) suggest that the species’ similarity to the domestic cat in Brazil is one reason for the scarcity of records in that country, as camera trapping in Emas National Park has found them to be relatively common, although this may be a localized abundance. Average densities may range from 2-10 adults per 100 km² (T. de Oliveira pers. comm. 2008). In Brazil and Argentina the species is considered Vulnerable (Diaz and Ojeda 2000, Machado et al. 2005). Genetic analysis of pampas cats from the high Andes of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina found six highly divergent groupings; subspecific partitioning is an important research need for conservation of this species.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The pampas cat has a wide distribution outside the moist forests of South America, being associated only with more open habitats. It typically inhabits dry scrub and grassland, but can also be found in dry woodland as well as swampy wetland (Silveira 1995, Nowell and Jackson 1996, Pereira et al. 2002). Its prey includes small mammals as well as ground-dwelling birds (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Silveira et al. 2005). In the high Andes the diet is based on mountain viscacha and small rodents (Walker et al. 2007, Napolitano et al. 2008). Based on the first radio-telemetry study taking place in Brazil's Emas National Park, pampas cats are primarily diurnal wth some crepuscular and occasionally nocturnal activity. Home ranges (90%MCP) averaged 19.47 +/- 3.64 km² (Silveira et al. 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss (to agricultural cropland) and degradation (by livestock grazing) is considered the major threat to this species throughout most of its range. Retaliatory killing for poultry depredation is also a threat, as is hunting for traditional cultural purposes in the high Andes (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007). A zone of hybridization between L. colocolo and L. tigrinus has been demonstrated by genetic analysis in central Brazil (Johnson et al. 1999, Eizirik et al. 2007). A number of deaths by road kill have been observed (Silveira et al. 2005, J. Pereira pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Included on CITES Appendix II. The species is protected by national legislation across most of its range, with hunting prohibited in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay, and hunting regulations in place in Peru (Nowell and Jackson 1996). It occurs in a number of protected areas (13 in Argentina: Pereira et al. 2002). Research into its ecology, distribution, taxonomy, and threats is needed (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007).

Citation: Pereira, J., Lucherini, M., de Oliveira, T., Eizirik, E., Acosta, G. & Leite-Pitman, R. 2008. Leopardus colocolo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T15309A4511796. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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