African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata)
Full body photo of an African golden cat in Gabon
Trail camera photo taken by Laila Bahaa-el-din / Panthera
Image source (modified) CC BY_NC-SA 2.0

The African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) is one of the three medium sized African wild cats, occupying the central African forests, whereas the caracal ranges the more arid regions and servals occur in the moister habitats. African Golden Cats have been little studied but with ongoing deforestation and the bush meat trade in central Africa, this cat is likely increasingly threatened as it's habitat and prey species disappear.

Key Facts about African Golden Cats

~ Fur lies forward on neck ~

~ Very few studies ~

~ Endemic to Africa ~

Caracal Lineage

1. Caracal (Caracal caracal)

2. Serval (Leptailurus serval)

3. African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata)

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the African Golden Cat species (Caracal aurata) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Caracal

Species: Caracal aurata (African Golden Cat)

Side view of a grey hued African Golden Cat by Laila Bahaa-el-din

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Subspecies

The conservation status for African Golden Cats is Vulnerable (VU); these forest dependent cats being highly threatened by forest clearing and bushmeat hunting in central Africa.

The current Felidae taxonomic revision proposes the same two subspecies that have been recognized in the past, although further research is required:

1. Caracal aurata aurata - East and Central Africa (minimal spotting on coat)

2. Caracal aurata celidogaster - West Africa (distinct spotting on coat)

African Golden Cat Conservation and Research

The following organizations are involved in wildlife research and conservation in Africa. Their efforts to secure tropical forest habitats for primates and other endangered forest species will also help conserve forest habitat for the vulnerable African Golden Cat:

African Golden Cat trail camera image by Laila Bahaa-el-din

African Golden Cat walking through forest by Philipp Henschel

African Golden Cat Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on African Golden Cats: