Conservation of Pampas cat

Conservation of Pampas cat

Project Animal(s) : Pampas cat
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : South America
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : No

There is little information on the pampas cat‘s status in the wild and on population estimates. In the IUCN Red List, the pampas cat is considered as Near Threatened. In Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil it is even classified as Vulnerable. In Uruguay, the species was considered extinct, but at present there are sporadic records in this country. In the Paraguayan Chaco, the pampas cat has been described as less common than the Geoffroy’s cat (Leopardus geoffroyi). The pampas cats occurring in Chile are thought to be the most endangered group due to their small geographic range. A camera trap study in the Emas National Park (Brazil) showed that the pampas cat is relatively common, but this could be a localized abundance. The pampas cat has a wide distribution which extends over large parts of South America. It lives in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru and marginally in south-western Colombia. The species seems to be rare in large parts of its range.

he major threat for pampas cat throughout most of its range is thought to be habitat loss and degradation due to oil extraction, agricultural cropland and livestock grazing, resulting also in a reduction of its prey species. Other threats are retaliation killing for preying on poultry and hunting for cultural purposes mostly in the high Andes or for sport. On the one side, the pampas cat is respected as a sacred animal and like the Andean cat it is a symbol of earth and fertility. Encounters are thought to bring good luck and the killing of a pampas cat to bring bad luck and death to the hunter and his family. On the other hand, the skins of pampas cats or their stuffed bodies are used in cultural ceremonies for livestock and agriculture. Pampas cats are also killed in road accidents and predated by dogs. Genetic analysis in central Brazil showed that an area of hybridisation exists between the pampas cat and the Northern tiger cat (Leopardus tigrinus).

The pampas cat is included in Appendix II of CITES and is protected across most of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Important conservation actions are to further investigate the taxonomic status (one or more species?) of the pampas cat and to conduct further research regarding its behaviour, ecology and distribution to be able to plan conservation strategies more efficiently.


Project Agency : Cat Specialist Group

Project Agency Contact :

Project Researcher : Javier Pereira

Project Researcher Contact :

Additional Information :