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. It occupies the central African forests whereas the Caracal ranges over 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.

Caracal Lineage

1. Caracal (Caracal caracal)

2. Serval (Leptailurus serval)

3. African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata)

Key Facts about African Golden Cats

~ Fur lies forward on neck ~

~ Very few studies ~

~ Endemic to Africa ~

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Classification

African Golden Cats belong to the genus Caracal and the taxonomy or scientific classification of the African Golden Cat species is:

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)

Subspecies:

C.a. aurata

C.a. celidogaster

 

The scientific name for the African Golden Cat is Caracal aurata which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

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

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Subspecies

The last Felidae taxonomic revision in 2017 proposed 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 conservation status for African Golden Cats is Vulnerable (VU), and these forest dependent cats are highly threatened by forest clearing and bushmeat hunting in central Africa.

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:

Forest Carnivore Research in Uganda - African Golden Cat

Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network - African Forests

African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) - Tropical Forests

African Parks - Saving Wildlife

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - Africa projects

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

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 websites have well researched and authoritative information on African Golden Cats: