Secrets of the World’s 38 Species of Wild Cats

"Wild Cats of the World, by Luke Hunter. Published by Bloomsbury Natural History, 2015. Click the cover for more information.

Perhaps the most popular pet on Earth, the domestic cat is a beloved member of countless households. Millions of others abandoned or strayed are flourishing independently in urban and rural settings, where they may pose serious threats to wild birds. But as familiar as the domestic cat is, not many people know it has 38 wild relatives, distinct species that include not only the iconic “king of the jungle,” the lion, and the world’s largest predator, the tiger, but also obscure animals such as the flat-headed cat, the fishing cat, and the oncilla. Some species may live in exotic far-off places, it’s true, but in many parts of the world wild cats survive, often secretly, within or alongside human settlements.

“Wild Cats of the World,” by Luke Hunter; illustrations by Priscilla Barrett. Published by Bloomsbury Natural History, 2015. Click the cover for more information.

For cat enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates wildlife and the wonders of evolution, a comprehensive new book shares the secrets of the felids, profiling all 38 species of wild cats. Written by President and Chief Conservation Officer of Panthera, Luke Hunter, Wild Cats of the World is profusely illustrated with some 400 photographs of the astonishing variety and beauty of this ancient and widespread carnivore family.

Hunter, a committee member of the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, published the book to illuminate and teach everyone of all ages about the diversity of the cats and explain the importance of their conservation, and how saving them can be beneficial to us.

Felids live in virtually any habitat, from desert to the subarctic, Hunter said in an email interview with Cat Watch. They have been around for about 30 million years and have out-lived many other branches in carnivore evolution which died out in their wake.

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