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FCF Conservation Advisor Jim Sanderson

Dr. Jim Sanderson, Ph.D, is FCF's expert conservation advisor on the Conservation Grant Fund committee. Dr. Sanderson is a world recognized expert on the small cat species, as well as a landscape ecologist.  Dr. Sanderson has used radio-telemetry and camera photo trapping to study small cats in Central and South America, Asia and Africa. Jim Sanderson is an active member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and the founder of the Small Cat Conservation Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of the world’s endangered small cat species.

Read an Interview with Dr. Sanderson by Rhett Butler of Mongaby.com about his global views of small cat conservation and the work he is doing.

About a decade ago the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) became the World Conservation Union but remains best known as the IUCN. The Cat Specialist Group, one of many IUCN specialist groups, is a group of volunteer scientists and leading authorities on the status of wild cat populations. One responsibility of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group is to maintain and regularly update
the conservation status of all wild cat species. The conservation status of all 37 of the world’s cat species is summarized in the IUCN’s Red List. The Red List should not be confused with CITES Appendices I - III.

Dr. Sanderson writes to FCF members in a past FCF Journal issue:

Generally, the less specialists hear about certain species of wild cats, the more concern we have for their populations in the wild. But how can we be sure? Concerted efforts must be made to learn more about
certain species in the wild. For instance, I am now seriously involved in trying to gain a better understanding of the conservation status of bay cat, Chinese mountain cat, flat-headed cat, and marbled cat. Suffice it to say, I am seriously concerned that these species are threatened with extinction. Each has its own unique set of threats that are taking a heavy toll on their populations.

Years of concentrated effort are required and this is primarily because few specialists and students are willing or able to undertake such efforts full time with little or no financial support.

The role of the Feline Conservation Federation, a group of private individuals whose members keep captive cats, in my view, should be expanded to include rare and threatened species and in situ educators. I urge FCF to come up with a viable, coherent program whereby the members of FCF can become actively involved in in situ zoo training for keepers and enclosure upgrading and construction. Prime examples in immediate need are keepers and facilities with flat-headed cats in Malaysia, and Chinese mountain cats in China. A days worth of training is not enough and a proper model enclosure cannot be built in day. However, the keepers are keen to learn and things are a lot cheaper outside the North America, Europe, and Japan. I have the in situ contacts. The measure of success of such programs is captive breeding.

Change is long overdue.


Jim Sanderson holding an Asian Golden Cat

pair of jaguarundis photo trapped by Jm Sanderson

flat headed cat fishing

jaguar camera trapped by Jim Sanderson