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Felis bieti 

Scope:Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_onStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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 Mountain Cat, Grass Cat, Chinese Alpine Steppe Cat, Chinese Steppe Cat, Chinese Desert Cat
French Chat de Biet
Spanish Gato de Biet, Gato del Desierto de China
Synonym(s):
Felis silvestris subspecies bieti Milne-Edwards, 1892
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of the species remains unclear. Felis bieti was recently attributed species status by Kitchener and Rees (2009), based on morphology and potential sympatry with Asian Wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata). Genetic evidence has indicated F. bieti to be a subspecies of Felis silvestris (Driscoll et al. 2007), however, greater sampling and assessment of genetic materials from individuals living in the wild is urgently required to be able to draw firm conclusions. Taxonomy is currently under review by the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-07-15
Assessor(s): Riordan, P., Sanderson, J., Bao, W., Abdukadir, A. & Shi, K.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Mallon, D., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.
Contributor(s): Driscoll, C.
Justification:
The Chinese Mountain Cat has a restricted distribution in China, occurring on the northeastern region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau at elevations from 2,500-5,000 m (He et al. 2004). This is a rare, small cat occurring in a remote area. Information about this species is relatively sparse and potentially out of date. No substantive advancements in knowledge about the species status and distribution have been made since the previous Red List assessment (Sanderson et al. 2010). Recent camera trapping, sign surveys and local community interviews within the anticipate Chinese Mountain Cat range (Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang), including the Second National Assessment on Wildlife Resources of China, have failed to reveal evidence of the species (Beijing Forestry University, unpublished data, Chinese State Forestry Administration, unpublished data). There is therefore an urgent need for surveys of extant wild populations to be carried out.

The taxonomy of the species remains unclear. Felis bieti was recently attributed species status by Kitchener and Rees (2009), based on morphology and potential sympatry with Asian Wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata). Genetic evidence has indicated F. bieti to be a subspecies of Felis silvestris (Driscoll et al. 2007), however, greater sampling and assessment of genetic materials from individuals living in the wild is urgently required to be able to draw firm conclusions.

As in the previous assessment (Sanderson et al. 2010), threats to F. bieti remain the same, principally accidental killing through the control of rodents using poisons and targeted hunting for the illegal trade in furs. There is an urgent need to assess the efficacy of current measures in place for the protection of the species, including the effectiveness of current protected area management to safeguard China’s only endemic felid.

Felis bieti
is assesed as Vulnerable on the basis that there are likely to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals. The population is distributed over a wide area and there is a high likelihood of fragmentation, with subpopulations unlikely to contain more than 1,000 mature individuals. The population is considered to be probably declining given the continued threats, lack of protection and the apparent scarcity in surveyed areas.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2002 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Insufficiently Known (K)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The geographic range and distribution of Chinese Mountain Cat Felis bieti is not well known. Occurring only within China, its current range is thought to occur within the provinces of Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Xinjiang. Historic accounts record the species in Sichuan, Ningxia and Tibet (Jacobi 1922, Allen 1938, Pocock 1951, Gao 1987).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
China (Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang)
Lower elevation limit (metres): 2500
Upper elevation limit (metres): 5000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population trend is decreasing.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Little is known, but records suggest that the species occurs in various habitats in mountainous areas, including forests, grasslands and steppe. It reportedly occurs between 2,500 and 5,000 m (Liao 1988, He et al. 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As in the previous assessment (Sanderson et al. 2010), threats to F. bieti remain the same, principally accidental killing through the control of rodents using poisons and targeted hunting for the illegal trade in furs.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is an urgent need for a full and systematic survey of this species. Basic information such as the identification of key areas and populations, abundance and threats assessments are required to develop effective conservation action plans. There is an urgent need to assess the efficacy of current measures in place for the protection of the species, including the effectiveness of current protected area management to safeguard China’s only endemic felid.

Citation: Riordan, P., Sanderson, J., Bao, W., Abdukadir, A. & Shi, K. 2015. Felis bieti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T8539A50651398. . Downloaded on 02 May 2016.
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