Pardofelis marmorata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae

Scientific Name: Pardofelis marmorata
Species Authority: (Martin, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Marbled Cat
French Chat marbré
Spanish Gato Jaspeado
Taxonomic Notes: The Marbled Cat (Pardofelis marmorata) was placed with the Asiatic Golden Cat and Borneo Bay Cat in Pardofelis by Johnson et al. (2006) 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 coat pattern, broad feet, and elongated tail and canines (Groves 1982, Corbet and Hill 1992). More recent genetic analyses (Luo et al. 2014) suggest species-level distinction between the Indochinese and Sundaic populations of the Marbled Cat although further research is needed to corroborate this.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-07-17
Assessor(s): Ross, J., Brodie, J., Cheyne, S., Hearn, A., Loken, B., Lynam, A., McCarthy, J., Phan, C., Rasphone, A., Singh, P. & Wilting, A.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Duckworth, J.W., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.
Contributor(s): Haidir, I.A., Hedges, L., Than Zaw, Chutipong, W., Tantipisanuh, N., Grassman, L., Sanderson, J., Ross, J., Sunarto, S. & Mukherjee, S.
The Marbled Cat is listed as Near Threatened although it is close to qualifying as Vulnerable under Criteria A and C. The change in status from Vulnerable in the 2008 assessment to Near Threatened must not be taken to reflect an actual increase in population nor a reduction of threats, rather the increasing number of camera trap surveys across Asia have, in recent years, confirmed the presence of previously only suspected populations and in some areas have resulted in a higher than expected number of detections and individuals. Despite this, the Marbled Cat remains little known and, across its range, is recorded relatively infrequently, which has hampered efforts to accurately assess its status, so much so that the assessors could not make a unanimous decision, with some assessors believing that maintaining the status as Vulnerable was more appropriate, we therefore report Near Threatened as the view of the majority. Current data suggest the Marbled Cat is forest dependent but does persist in degraded forest. It is also present over a wide elevation range and in rugged areas – areas in which forest loss is slower than average for the region. Marbled Cats are also threatened by hunting, but currently quantitative data is lacking and we cannot assess the impact this is having on the population. There are no published estimates of population density for the Marbled Cat, however across its range, density probably varies considerably, but given the large range (currently estimated at roughly 1,500,000 km²) the population density needs to be below 1 individual per 100 km² to qualify for Vulnerable under Criterion C (fewer than 10,000 mature individuals), this seems implausible in several areas. In summary, the population is probably slightly too large and declining too slowly (ca. 25%) to qualify as Vulnerable.

If future research challenges these key assumptions (presence in rugged terrain, over wide elevations, large geographic range, tolerance to some habitat degradation) or provides evidence of a substantially fragmented population, extremely low population density, heavy hunting pressure, or stronger support of the proposed species split, the status will need revising and it is likely that it would then qualify for Vulnerable, probably under Criterion C.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2002 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)
1990 Indeterminate (I)
1988 Indeterminate (I)
1986 Indeterminate (I)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The Marbled Cat is found from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal eastwards into southwest China, southwards throughout mainland Southeast Asia and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. There are many recent records from protected and non-protected areas throughout its range - examples include Borneo: Danum Valley Conservation Area and surrounding production forest, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Crocker Range National Park, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Gomantong Forest Reserve, and Tawau Hills National Park (Hearn, Ross and Macdonald unpubl. data), Maliau Basin Conservation Area (Brodie and Giordano 2011), Deramakot Forest Reserve (Mohamed et al. 2009), Sabangau catchment (including Sebangau National Park) (Cheyne and Macdonald 2010), Bawan Forest Complex, Kutai National Park, Murung Raya Forest Complex, Sungai Wain Protection Forest (Cheyne et al. in prep.), Upper Baram region of Sarawak (Mathai et al. 2010), Sumatra: Gunung Leuser National Park (Pusparini et al. 2014), Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (Wibisono and McCarthy 2010), Peninsular Malaysia: Endau Rompin National Park (Gumal et al. 2014), Myanmar: Taninthary Nature Reserve (Than Zaw et al. 2014), Thailand: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Riggio and Lynam unpublished data), Cambodia: Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (Gray et al. 2014), Preah Roka Forest (Suzuki et al. 2015), north-east India: Namdapha Tiger Reserve (Datta et al. 2008a,b; F. Ahmed et al. unpubl. data), Pakke Tiger Reserve (Lyngdoh et al. 2011), Eaglenest WLS (Velho 2013, P. Choudhary et al. unpubl. data) in Arunachal Pradesh, Joypur-Dehing area in eastern Assam (K. Kakati unpubl. data), Manas Tiger Reserve in western Assam (Borah et al. 2013) Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram (Lalthanpuia et al. 2012, P. Singh unpubl. data) and sighting records /reports from the Mishmi Hills (Raj Kamal Phukan pers. comm.) and South Garo Hills, Meghalaya (Samrakshan Trust 2007), Bhutan: Royal Manas National Park (Tempa et al. 2013), Bangladesh: Moulvibazar district (Khan 2015).


The current assessment map shows range within existing forest cover (Hansen et al. 2013, Miettinen et al. 2011) but also includes small fragmented areas where Marbled Cats are known to still exist.   

Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Viet Nam
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


There are no population density estimates for the Marbled Cat. In most surveys, detection rates tend to be lower for this species than some sympatric felids such as the Asiatic Golden Cat (e.g. Pusparini et al. 2014, Gumal et al. 2014, Than Zaw et al. 2014) and both species of Clouded Leopard, but higher than others such as the Bay Cat (Ross et al. 2010, Hearn, Ross and Macdonald unpubl. data). However, in some surveys, when individual animals have been identified, a similar number or even a higher number of individual Marbled Cats compared to Clouded Leopards have been found (Hearn, Ross and Macdonald unpubl. data). It is therefore possible that low detection rates may under some circumstances arise from cameras placed inappropriately for Marbled Cats, it is also likely that the population density will vary greatly across the range and it is important to note that many surveys have resulted in very few detections. However, unless population densities are very low, or the distribution extremely patchy it is likely that the total population numbers over 10,000 mature individuals, although this is certainly in decline.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Current data suggest that the Marbled Cat is forest dependent, 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). The increasing use of camera traps throughout its range is revealing detections from disturbed areas (e.g. Mohamed et al. 2009, Mathai et al. 2010), including recently logged forest (e.g. Ross et al. 2010), but surveys of oil palm plantations in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo have not detected marbled cats within the plantations (Ross et al. 2010, Yue et al. in press). Grassman and Tewes (2002) reported a pair of adult Marbled Cats in a salt lick in Thailand's Phu Khieu National Park. 

The Marbled Cat has never been intensively studied, but Grassman et al. (2005) report 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. There is no detailed information regarding Marbled Cat diet, but it probably preys primarily on rodents, including squirrels (Nowell and Jackson 1996), and birds.


The Marbled Cat appears to be primarily diurnal (Ross et al. 2010, Lynam et al. 2013).

Systems: Terrestrial
Generation Length (years): 5

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: See Threats section.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The Marbled Cat is forest dependent and forest loss and degradation is continuing across its range from logging and expansion of human settlements and agriculture, including oil palm plantations. The Marbled Cat is valued for skin, meat and bones, although it is infrequently observed in the wildlife trade (Nowell and Jackson 1996). However, it is possible that illegal killing and trade is underreported compared to other species. Targeted and indiscriminate snaring are prevalent throughout much of the range and likely to pose a significant threat. They have been reported as poultry pests (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Mishra et al. 2006) which also results in retaliatory killing. Records of hunting and skins are known from several areas in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India - Vijaynagar-Gandhigram in Changlang district (A. Datta unpubl. data), West Kameng district (Mishra et al. 2006), Pakke Kessang, East Kameng district (Lyngdoh et al. 2011), Ziro valley, Lower Subansiri (Selvan et al. 2013) and from Khonoma in Nagaland (Grewal et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The Marbled Cat is listed on CITES Appendix I and is protected by national legislation across most of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (Yunnan only), India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Hunting regulations are in place in Lao PDR and Singapore (Nowell and Jackson 1996). It occurs in many protected areas, but levels of active protection for wildlife vary widely between countries and also between protected areas within countries; it also occurs in unprotected places. However, to better understand its conservation needs and to realize a better assessment in the future, further research is needed into Marbled Cat ecology, distribution and status. More information is especially required regarding the population density, the effects that habitat degradation has on population density and distribution, the extent of hunting and the frequency at which Marbled Cats appear in illegal trade.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.1. Shifting agriculture
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.2. Small-holder farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.1. Small-holder plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Borah, J, Wangchuk D., Swargowari, A., Wangchuk T., Sharma, T., Das D., Rabha, N., Basumatari, A., Kakati, N., Ahmed, M.F., Sharma, A., Sarmah A., Dutta D.K., Lahkar, B., Dorji, T., Brahma, P.K., Ramchiary, L., Tempa, T., Wangdi, Y., Nedup, T., Wangdi, T., Tharchen, L., Dhendup, P., Bhobora, C., Pandav, B. and Vattakaven, J. 2013. Tigers in the Transboundary Manas Conservation Complex: conservation implications across borders. Parks 19(1): 52-62.

Brodie, J. and Giordano, A. 2011. Small carnivores of the Maliau Basin, Sabah, Borneo, including a new locality for the Hose’s Civet Diplogale hosei. Small Carnivore Conservation 44: 1–6.

Cheyne, S.M. and Macdonald, D.W. 2010. Marbled cat in Sabangau peat-swamp forest, Indonesian Borneo. Cat News 52: 11.

Cheyne S.M., Sastrimidjaja W.J., Muhalir, Rayadin Y., Limin S.H. and Macdonald D.W. In prep. Mammalian communities as indicators of disturbance across Indonesian Borneo.

Corbet, G.B. and Hill, J.E. 1992. Mammals of the Indo-Malayan Region: a Systematic Review. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

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.

Datta, A., Anand, M.O. and Naniwadekar, R. 2008. Empty forests: Large carnivore and prey abundance in Namdapha National Park, north-east India. Biological Conservation 141(5): 1429-1435.

Datta, A., Naniwadekar, R. and Anand, M.O. 2008a. Hornbills, hoolocks and hog badgers: long-term monitoring of threatened wildlife with local communities in Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Final report to the Rufford Small Grants Program (UK). Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore, India.

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

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.

Gray, T.N.E., Phan, C., Pin, C. & Prum, S. 2014. The status of jungle cat and sympatric small cats in Cambodia’s Eastern Plains Landscape. Cat News Special Issue 8(Special Issue 8): 19-23.

Grewal, B., Sreenivasan, R. and Haralu, B. 2011. Nagaland Biodiversity and Conservation Programme: an action document.

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

Gumal, M., Salleh, A.B.B.M., Yasak, M.N., Horng, L.S., Lee, B.P.Y-H., Pheng, L.C., Hamzah, H., Kong, D., Magintan, D., Yung D.T.C., Zalaluddin, A.Z.B., Azmi, A.B., Khalid, N.B., Yen, T.P., Mufeng, V., Meng, F.C.F., and Ng, S. 2014. Small-medium wild cats of Endau Rompin Landscape in Johor Peninsular Malaysia. Cat News 8: 10-18.

Hansen, M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau, D., Stehman, S.V., Goetz, S.J., Loveland, T.R., Kommareddy, A., Egorov, A., Chini, L., Justice, C.O. and Townsend, J.R.G. 2013. High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change. Available at: (Accessed: 2014).

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

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

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.

Khan, M.M.H. 2015. First confirmed record of marbled cat in Bangladesh. Cat News 62: 17.

Lalthanpuia, Sarmah A., Borah J., Borthakur U. 2012. Brief report on camera trapping exercise in Dampa Tiger Reserve, Mizoram. Technical report by WWF-India .

Luo, S.-J., Zhang, Y., Johnson, W.E., Miao, L., Martelli, P., Antunes, A., Smith, J.L.D. and O'Brien, S.J. 2014. Sympatric Asian felid phylogeography reveals a major Indochinese–Sundaic divergence. Molecular Ecology 23: 2072-2092.

Lynam, A.J., Jenks, K.E., Tantipisanuh, N., Chutipong, W., Ngoprasert, D., Gale, G.A., Steinmetz, R., Sukmasuang, R., Bhumpakphan, N., Grassman, L.I., Jr., Cutter, P., Kitamura, S., Reed, D.H., Baker, M.C., McShea, W., Songsasen, N. and Leimgruber, P. 2013. Terrestrial activity patterns of wild cats from camera-trapping. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 61: 407-415.

Lyngdoh, S., Selvan, K.M., Gopi, G.V. and Habib, B. 2011. First photographic evidences of two rare cats from Pakke Tiger Reserve, western Arunachal Pradesh. Current Science 101: 1284–1286.

Mathai, J., Hon, J., Juat, N., Peter, A. and Gumal, M. 2010. Small carnivores in a logging concession in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, Borneo. Small Carnivore Conservation 42: 1–9.

Miettinen, J., Shi, C. and Liew, S.C. 2011. Deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010. Global Change Biology 17(7): 2261-2270. DOI:10.111/j.1365-2486.2011.02398.x.

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.

Mohamed, A., Samejima, H. and Wilting, A. 2009. Records of five Bornean cat species from Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia. Cat News 51: 12-15.

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.

Pusparini, W., Wibisono, H.T., Reddy, G.V., Tarmizi, T. and Bharata, P. 2014. Small and medium sized cats in Gunung Leuser National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Cat News Special Issue(8): 4-9.

Ross, J., Hearn, A.J., Bernard, H., Secoy, K. and Macdonald, D. 2010. A framework for a Wild Cat Action Plan for Sabah. Global Canopy Programme, Oxford.

Samrakshan Trust. 2007. Wildlife distribution and hunting – South Garo Hills. Unpublished report.

Selvan, K.M., Gopi, G.V., Habib, B. and Lyngdoh, S. 2013. Hunting record of endangered marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata in the Ziro valley of Lower Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5: 3583-3584.

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

Suzuki, A., Sokha, T., Setha, T. and Iwata, A. 2015. First confirmation of a marbled cat in northern Cambodia. Cat News 62: 14-15.

Tempa, T., Hebblewhite, M., Mills, L.S., Wangchuk, T.R., Norbu, N., Wangchuk, T., Nidup, T., Dendup, P., Wangchuk, D., Wangdi, Y. and Dorji, T. 2013. Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan: a hot spot for wild felids. Oryx 47: 207–210.

Than, Z., Myint, T., Htun, S., Po, S.H.T., Latt, K.T., Maung, M. and Lynam, A.J. 2014. Status and distribution of smaller cats in Myanmar. Cat News 8: 24-30.

Wibisono, H.T. and McCarthy, J. 2010. Melanistic marbled cat from Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Cat News 52: 9-10.

Citation: Ross, J., Brodie, J., Cheyne, S., Hearn, A., Loken, B., Lynam, A., McCarthy, J., Phan, C., Rasphone, A., Singh, P. & Wilting, A. 2015. Pardofelis marmorata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T16218A50661236. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided