Below is the most recent distribution map of the jungle cat. It comes from the IUCN Red List and it is dated 2022. Click on it to see a larger version.
The disappointing aspect of this map and all the maps produced by the Red List is that the date of the assessment is June 4, 2014. The map was published in 2021. It is not that current but it is the best map we have because the Red List people are the ones who should have all the knowledge as to the distribution of the jungle cat.
In words, the jungle cat is ‘extant’ meaning resident in the following countries as per the Red List: Afghanistan; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; Egypt; Georgia; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Russian Federation; Sri Lanka; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Thailand; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam.
The population is decreasing but their distribution is not severely fragmented. This cat species is terrestrial as opposed to arboreal and lives in forests, savanna, scrubland, grassland inland wetlands and desert.
The species has a fantastic range but the map above compared to the map prepared by the Sunquists in Wild Cats Of The World in 2002 is far more fragmented. This may be in part due to better knowledge gleaned over the intervening 20 years since the earlier map was prepared and/or it may be due to loss of habitat and persecution by people for skins in defiance of prohibitions and relation by farmers who might consider this wild cat a pest. I would love to see a contribution from a concerned scientist in China! The land where the cat is used and abused.
Their habitat often follows rivers and water courses. This cat could have been called the reed or swamp cat as it likes areas of water where there is appropriate prey such as frogs, rats and mice. It also hunts:
- birds – it will catch these by jumping in the air vertically to catch them from the air. For ground prey it will adopt a similar technique to the serval, a high pounce onto the prey to stun it.
- jungle fowl
- water fowl (Russia)
They are flexible and opportunistic in their selection of prey and their adaptability extends to habitat (it needs to!).
In addition to wetland habitat the jungle cat range includes:
- dense jungle
- tall grass
- thick brush
- reed beds
- river swamps
As a result, it is usually found near sea level, below 1,000 metres but its adaptability has allowed it to be found at 2,400 metres above sea level. Although their thin coats are not designed for protection against the cold of higher climates. In higher habitats they prefer the river valleys. But they have been seen in “sandhill desert” and in cultivated areas near human settlements including on irrigated farmland.
- IUCN Red List
- Wild Cats Of The World
- Internet generally