Catopuma temminckii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Catopuma temminckii
Species Authority: (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)
Common Name(s):
English Asiatic Golden Cat, Temminck's Cat, Golden Cat
French Chat De Temminck, Chat Doré D'Asie
Spanish Gato Dorado Asiático
Felis temminckii Vigors & Horsfield, 1827
Pardofelis temminckii (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827)
Taxonomic Notes: The Asiatic Golden Cat resembles the African Golden Cat, but on the basis of genetic analysis it is grouped with the Marbled Cat in Pardofelis (Johnson et al. 2006, O'Brien and Johnson 2007, Eizirik et al. submitted).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Sanderson, J., Mukherjee, S., Wilting, A., Sunarto, S., Hearn, A., Ross, J. & Khan, J.A.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Near Threatened because it comes close to qualifying as Vulnerable under Criterion C. The Asiatic Golden Cat is primarily found in forest (Nowell and Jackson 1996), and although there are records near villages it appears to prefer forested areas away from human activity (Holden 2001). It makes more use of open habitats than the Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat (Grassman et al. 2005, Choudhury 2007, Wang 2007), which have a similar distribution, although it may be less abundant in montane forest (Holden 2001, Mishra et al. 2006). Some studies have suggested that it is more common than these two species, while others indicate the opposite (see section Population). Given that its distribution (Nowell and Jackson 1996), home range (Grassman et al. 2005) and camera trap encounter rates (Holden 2001, Lynam et al. 2006) are similar to those of Clouded Leopards (Neofelis nebulosa and Neofelis diardi diardi), its population size could be similar, although Clouded Leopards are probably under greater hunting pressure judging from their greater representation in the illegal wildlife trade. Asiatic Golden Cats are declining due to habitat loss - Southeast Asian forests are undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates (over 10% in the past ten years: FAO 2007) - and hunting pressure (on both predator and prey).
2002 Vulnerable
1994 Indeterminate (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 Asiatic Golden Cat has a similar range to its close relative Pardofelis marmorata: from the Himalayan foothills into China and Southeast Asia. However, it has a larger range in China, like the Clouded Leopard, and it does not occur on the island of Borneo, where its other close relative, Pardofelis badia, occurs (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).

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

Population [top]

Population: Some surveys have found more records for the Asiatic Golden Cat than for some other sympatric small felids (including the Marbled Cat, Flat-headed Cat, and Fishing Cat), suggesting that it may be more common than previously thought (Duckworth et al. 1999, Holden 2001, Duckworth et al. 2005, J. Sanderson pers. comm. 2007). Other survey efforts, however, have turned up fewer records (Rao et al. 2005, Lynam et al. 2006, Mishra et al. 2006). Given that its distribution (Nowell and Jackson 1996), home range (Grassman et al. 2005) and camera trap encounter rates (Holden 2001, Lynam et al. 2006) are similar to those of Clouded Leopards (Neofelis nebulosa and Neofelis diardi diardi), it may be of roughly equivalent abundance.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Asiatic Golden Cat is primarily found in forest habitats, ranging from tropical and subtropical evergreen to mixed and dry deciduous forest (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Less frequently it is found in more open habitats such as shrub and grasslands (Choudhury 2007). Grassman et al. (2005) found Golden Cats used closed forest and more open habitats in proportion to their occurrence, showing no significant preference. Some studies have suggested it may be less common in montane forest: in Sumatra's Kerinci Seblat National Park, all records for this species were from lowland forest with none from montane forest, unlike the Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat (Holden 2001). Mishra (2006) also found Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat, but no Asiatic Golden Cat, in the hill forests of India's western Arunachal Pradesh province. However, Wang (2007) obtained camera trap photos of the Asiatic Golden Cat at an elevation of 3,738 m in Bhutan's Jigme Sigye Wangchuk National Park in an area of dwarf rhododendron and grassland, an elevation record for the species.

Activity readings from two radio-collared golden cats in Thailands's Phu Khieu National Park showed daytime and crepuscular activity peaks (Grassman et al. 2005). Forty-seven per cent of 15 camera trap records in Sumatra's Kerinci Seblat National Park were in daytime (Holden 2001). This suggests that the species is not primarily nocturnal, as thought previously.

An adult female Asiatic Golden Cat in Thailand's Phu Khieu National Park had a home range of 32.6 km², overlapped 78% by a male whose home range was 47.7 km². Golden Cat home ranges were larger than clouded leopard home ranges, although they were similar in activity and mean daily distance moved (Grassman et al. 2005).

One confirmed scat contained the remains of Indochinese ground squirrel (Grassman et al. 2005). Scats from Sumatra contained rat and muntjac remains, and the stomach contents of a carcass in Thailand's Kaeng Krachan National Park included the remains of a small snake (Grassman 1998).

While the reddish-gold pelage the cat is named for is the most common form, there are also are spotted (Wang 2007) and melanistic morphs (Holden 2001, Grassman et al. 2005).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Asiatic Golden Cat is threatened primarily by habitat loss to deforestation, but it threatened by indiscriminate snaring (Holden 2001), and there is illegal trade in its pelt and bones (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Duckworth et al. 1999, Lynam et al. 2006). It has been reported killed for depredating livestock, including poultry but also larger animals such as sheep, goats and buffalo calves (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). The Asiatic Golden Cat is capable of taking larger prey, and is threatened by declining ungulate abundance in many parts of Southeast Asia.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: P. temminckii is listed under Appendix I of CITES (as Catopuma temminckii). It is fully protected over most of its range by National legislation. Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Viet Nam and is regulated in Lao PDR. There is no legal protection outside protected areas in Bhutan (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Its range includes many protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Choudhury, A. 2007. Sighting of Asiatic golden cat in the grasslands of Assam's Manas National Park. Cat News 47: 29.

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.

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.

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.

Grassman, L. 1998. Stomach contents of an Asiatic golden cat. Cat News 28: 20-21.

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.

Rao, M., Myint, T., Zaw, T. and Htun, S. 2005. Hunting patterns in tropical forests adjoining the Hkakaborazi National Park, north Myanmar. Oryx 39(3): 292.

Wang, S. W. 2007. A rare morph of the Asiatic golden cat in Bhutan's Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. Cat News 47: 27-28.

Citation: Sanderson, J., Mukherjee, S., Wilting, A., Sunarto, S., Hearn, A., Ross, J. & Khan, J.A. 2008. Catopuma temminckii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 August 2014.
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