Wildcat Distribution

August 2010: The distribution or range of the Wildcat is set out below. Please note: (1) the wildcat is a specific species of wild cat (2) ranges of wildcats are not precise even for an expert (3) the classification of the wildcats into 5 subspecies is still debated. This customised map is exclusive to PoC and free to use under a creative commons attribution no derivates license. In other words, anyone can download it and then upload it to their own server but it must be “as is” without modification unless you contact me and ask permission. The map is based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species® map, which should be the most up to date and accurate as that is their role. I cover the range of the various subspecies of wildcats in words below the map.

Wildcat Distribution
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Wildcat distribution is very wide when compared to some other wild cat species. This is because the wild cat is adaptable allowing a variety of habitats to be acceptable.

Wildcat Distribution – European wildcat – scientific name: felis silvestris silvestris (on the map this is indicated by the words: F.s.silvestris). Despite being persecuted by humankind this wily wildcat has survived across quite large areas of mainland Europe. The wildcat disappeared from all of the UK except in Scotland by the mid nineteenth century1. The reason being that Scotland is relatively remote (less human activity). Although the Scottish wildcat has integrated into human society to a certain extent. This is good for the survival of the individual cat and bad for survival of the species as hybridization takes place; the wildcat mating with the unneutered domestic cat.

Countries where the European wildcat is present include: Scotland, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. In the former Soviet Union the European wildcat can be found in Moldova and “on the Romanian border”1, the Carpathian forests, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia1.

Wildcat Distribution – African, Southern African wildcat and Asian wildcat – These subspecies are indicated by F.s. lybica, F.s. cafra and F.s. ornata, respectively, on the map. As can be seen from the map the African wildcat range is both north and south of the Sahara and it extends to the eastern edge of the Mediterranean and diminishing parts of the Arabian Peninsula as can be seen. It is absent in true desert and tropical forest1. The wildcat is found in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. It would seem that there is a lack of clarity as to the exact ranges of the African and Asian wildcats. Do they overlap for example?

Wildcat Distribution – Chinese Desert Cat or Chinese Mountain Cat – Scientific name F.s bieti on the map. This cat was considered a separate species of wild cat in the book, Wild Cats Of The World (2002). I have listed it as a subspecies of the wildcat pusuant to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species® assessment due to studies published in 2009 ( (Kitchener and Rees 2009, Macdonald et al. in press). Things change. It is found in Shanxi, Gansu, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Xingjiang and Qjinghai1.

The total countries where the wildcat is considered native, extinct and presence uncertain as at 2010 and as listed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species® are as follows: Wildcat distribution – Native (originating, indigenous): Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Congo, Croatia, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, UAE, Scotland, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Regionally extinct: Netherlands. Uncertain: Côte d’Ivoire, Qatar.

Wildcat Distribution – Notes:
1. Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002 page 86, page 93, page 58 for wildcat distribution. Published by The University of Chicago Press Ltd. London. ISBN 0-226-77999-8 (cloth).

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