Poster presentation 12th International Mammalogical Congress

The present status of two endangered insular populations of the leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis: Implications for their conservation (#779)

Masako Izawa 1 , Nozomi Nakanishi 1
  1. University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan

Two native wild felids are distributed in Japan, Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis, endemic to Iriomote-jima Island, and P. b. euptilura, commonly found on the Korean Peninsula. Although both are similar-sized small felids inhabiting small islands, their ecological characteristics such as feeding habits and habitat selection differ, which can be attributed to the climate and the biotic environmental factors (species composition of fauna on each island and presence of competitors). The population size of both the felids is estimated to be approximately 100–150 individuals; however, their population trends and distribution patterns differ. They are both listed as endangered species/subspecies in the Red List in Japan, and the Iriomote cat is listed as an endangered subspecies in the IUCN Red List, because of their small population sizes and restricted habitats. The two felids face some common threats, which include habitat destruction, road accidents, and negative effects of introduced species; these issues therefore need to be addressed for the conservation of these felids. However, the degree of the effect of each threat differs between the two felids, and each felid also has some unique problems partly because of differing ecological features and partly because of the diverse social background of each island, such as human population, industries, and the history of relationship between humans and wildlife. Here, we compare the status of the two wild felids and discuss various conservation strategies.