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.

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Unique Facts

~ Fur lies forward on head and neck ~

~ One of the least studied wild cats ~

~ Endemic to Africa ~

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

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)

 

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) Subspecies (lower classifications)

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 latest 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)

References:

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. <www.iucnredlist.org> Caracal aurata. 23 May 2017.
  • Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group.

 

African Golden Cat (Caracal aurata) 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 (Caracal aurata) Facts and Information

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

  • African Golden Cat Fact Sheet - ARKive
  • African Golden Cat Information - ISEC
  • African Golden Cat Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
Recommended Books about all Wild Cats
Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter
Luke Hunter 2015
(general and academic interest)
The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist
Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014
(general interest)
Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson
J. Sanderson & P. Watson 2011
(general interest)
Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids
D.Macdonald & A.Loveridge 2010
(academic interest)
Wild Cats of the World - Sunquist
Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002
(general and academic interest)