Pardofelis marmorata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pardofelis marmorata
Species Authority: (Martin, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Marbled Cat
French Chat Marbré
Spanish Gato Jaspeado
Taxonomic Notes: Placed with the Asiatic Golden Cat and Borneo Bay Cat in Pardofelis by Johnson et al. (2006) and Eizirik et al. (submitted), representing one of the earliest felid radiations (O'Brien and Johnson 2007). Although these genetic analyses conclude the Marbled Cat is not a close relative of Neofelis, previously it had been considered so on the basis of morphological similarities including its blotchy coat pattern, broad feet, and elongated tail and canines (Groves 1982, Corbett and Hill 1993).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C1+2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Grassman, L., Sanderson, J., Hearn, A., Ross, J., Wilting, A., Sunarto, S., Khan, J.A. & Mukherjee, S.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
The marbled cat is forest-dependent, and its habitat is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates (over 10% in the past ten years: FAO 2007). It occurs at low densities, and its total effective population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with no single population numbering more than 1,000 (IUCN Cats Red List Workshop 2007).
2002 Vulnerable
1996 Data Deficient
1994 Insufficiently Known (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Indeterminate (IUCN 1990)
1988 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The marbled cat is found in tropical Indomalaya westward along the Himalayan foothills westward into Nepal and eastward into southwest China, and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. There are few locality records of this species (Nowell and Jackson, 1996, Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002).

The map shows range within forest cover (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 2003) to reflect patchiness caused by deforestation upon recommendation of the assessors (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007).

Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The marbled cat appears relatively rare compared to sympatric felids, based on the paucity of historical as well as recent records (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Duckworth et al. 1999, Holden 2001, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002, Grassman et al. 2005, Azlan and Sharma 2006, Lynam et al. 2006, Mishra et al. 2006, Yasuda et al. 2007), although Cambodia stands out for having a relatively high encounter rate (13 camera trap records, compared to 12 for the Asiatic golden cat and 4 for the clouded leopard: Duckworth et al. 2005).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The marbled cat is primarily associated with moist and mixed deciduous-evergreen tropical forest (Nowell and Jackson 1996), and may prefer hill forest (Duckworth et al. 1999, Holden 2001, Grassman et al. 2005). A few sightings have been made in secondary forest or cleared areas near forest, but it is likely forest-dependent (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Grassman and Tewes (2002) reported the observation of a pair of adult marbled cats in a salt lick in Thailand's Phu Khieu National Park.

It has never been studied, although Grassman et al. (2005) made a preliminary home range estimate of 5.3 km² for an adult female who was radio-collared and tracked for one month in Thailand's Phu Khieu National Park. The marbled cat probably preys primarily on rodents, including squirrels (Nowell and Jackson, 1996), and birds.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The marbled cat appears to be forest-dependent, and its habitat in Southeast Asia is undergoing the world's fastest deforestation rate (1.2-1.3% a year since 1990: FAO 2007), due to logging, oil palm and other plantations, and human settlement and agriculture. Although infrequently observed in the illegal Asian wildlife trade (Nowell and Jackson 1996), it is valued for its skin, meat and bones, and indiscriminate snaring is prevalent throughout much of its range and is likely to pose a major threat (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007). They have been reported as poultry pests (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Mishra et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Included on CITES Appendix I. Hunting of this species is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (Yunnan only), India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Hunting regulations are in place in Lao PDR, Singapore (Nowell and Jackson 1996). It occurs in a number of protected areas. Further research is needed on its ecology, distribution and status (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007).

Bibliography [top]

Azlan, J. M. 2006. The diversity and activity patterns of wild felids in a secondary forest in Peninsular Malaysia. Oryx 40: 36-41.

Corbet, G. B. and Hill, J. E. 1993. Family Felidae - Cats. The Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: A systematic review, pp. 219. OUP for British Museum (Natural History), London, UK.

Duckworth, J. W., Poole, C. M., Tizard, R. J., Walston, J. L. and Timmins, R. J. 2005. The Jungle Cat Felis chaus in Indochina: A threatened population of a widespread and adaptable species. Biodiversity and Conservation 14: 1263-1280.

Duckworth, J.W., Salter, R.E. and Khounbline, K. 1999. Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 Status Report. IUCN, Vientiane, Laos.

Eizirik, E., Johnson, W. E. and O'Brien, S. J. Submitted. Molecular systematics and revised classification of the family Felidae (Mammalia, Carnivora). Journal of Mammalogy.

European Commission, Joint Research Centre. 2003. Global Land Cover 2000 database.

FAO. 2007. State of the world's forests. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy.

Grassman Jr., L. I. and Tewes, M. E. 2002. Marbled cat pair in in northeastern Thailand. Cat News 36: 19.

Grassman Jr., L. I.,Tewes, M. E., Silvy, N. J. and Kreetiyutanont, K. 2005. Ecology of three sympatric felids in a mixed evergreen forest in North-central Thailand. Journal of Mammalogy 86: 29-38.

Groves, C. P. 1982. Cranial and dental characteristics in the systematics of old world Felidae. Carnivore 5: 28 pp.

Holden, J. 2001. Small cats in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Cat News 35: 11-14.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Johnson, W. E., Eizirik, E., Pecon-Slattery, J., Murphy, W. J., Antunes, A., Teeling, E. and O'Brien, S. J. 2006. The late miocene radiation of modern felidae: A genetic assesstment. Science 311: 73-77.

Lynam, A. J., Round, P. and Brockelman, W. Y. 2006. Status of birds and large mammals of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, Thailand. Biodiversity Research and Training Program and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangkok, Thailand.

Mishra, C., Madhusudan, M.D. and Datta, A. 2006. Mammals of the high altitudes of western Arunachal Pradesh, eastern Himalaya: An assessment of threats and conservation needs. Oryx 40: 29-35.

Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. 1996. Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

O'Brien, S. J. and Johnson, W. E. 2007. The evolution of cats. Scientific American July: 68-75.

Sunquist, M. and Sunquist, F. 2002. Wild Cats of the World. University of Chicago Press.

Citation: Grassman, L., Sanderson, J., Hearn, A., Ross, J., Wilting, A., Sunarto, S., Khan, J.A. & Mukherjee, S. 2008. Pardofelis marmorata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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