Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae

Scientific Name: Felis bieti
Species Authority: Milne-Edwards, 1892
Common Name(s):
English Chinese Desert Cat, Grass Cat, Chinese Mountain Cat, Chinese Steppe Cat, Chinese Alpine Steppe Cat
French Chat de Biet
Spanish Gato de Biet, Gato del Desierto de China
Felis silvestris subspecies bieti Milne-Edwards, 1892
Taxonomic Notes: Long considered a separate species having a close relationship to the Wildcat, Felis silvestris, based on morphology (Garcia-Perea 2000, Wozencraft 2005). Based on genetic analysis, Driscoll et al. (2007) classified it as a Wildcat subspecies, F. silvestris bieti. Estimated time of divergence was recent (230,000 years BP), and further study is warranted before this classification can be definitely accepted.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-02-03
Assessor(s): Sanderson, J., Mallon, D.P. & Driscoll, C.
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Breitenmoser, U. & Breitenmoser-Wursten, C.
The Chinese Mountain Cat has a restricted distribution in China, occurring on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau at elevations from 2,500-5,000 m (He et al. 2004). There is little information about its ecology and status (Yin et al. 2007, Wozencraft et al. 2008), but it is generally considered rare (Nowell and Jackson 1996). It is threatened primarily by large-scale poisoning campaigns targeting pikas, presumably their main prey (Nowell and Jackson 1996, He et al. 2004, Chen et al. 2005, Yin et al. 2008). Skins have also been seen in trade (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Chen et al. 2005). Its effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature breeding individuals, with a declining trend due to loss of prey base and persecution, and it may largely exist as a single interconnected subpopulation. Further information on distribution and status may warrant reclassification to a higher category of threat (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007).
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2002 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed on CITES Appendix ii (as Felis bieti).

Bibliography [top]

Chen, N.M., Li, L., Shan, S., Yin, Y.F., and Sanderson, J. 2005. Status of the Chinese mountain cat in Sichuan province (China). Cat News 43: 25-27.

Driscoll, C.A., Menotti-Raymond, M., Roca, A.L. Hupe, K., Johnson, W.E., Geffen, E., Harley, E.H., Delibes, M., Pontier, D., Kitchener, A.C., Yamaguchi, N., O’Brien, S.J. and Macdonald, D.W. 2007. The Near Eastern origin of cat domestication. Science 317: 519-523.

Garcia-Perea, R. 2000. Morphological characteristics and affinities of the Chinese Mountain Cat, Felis bieti. Preliminary report. Cat Action Treasury.

He, L., García-Perea, R., Li, M. and Wei, F. 2004. Distribution and conservation status of the endemic Chinese mountain cat Felis bieti. Oryx 38(1): 55-61.

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

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.2). Available at: (Accessed: 29 June 2010).

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

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2008. Order Carnivora. In: A.T. Smith and Y. Xie (eds), A Guide to the Mammals of China, pp. 576. Princeton University Press.

Yin, Y. f., Drubygal, Achu, Lu, Z. and Sanderson, J. 2007. First photographs in nature of the Chinese mountain cat. Cat News 47: 6-7.

Citation: Sanderson, J., Mallon, D.P. & Driscoll, C. 2010. Felis bieti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T8539A12915152. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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