Two New Species of Wild Cat

Two new species of wild cat have just been classified by the Cat Classification Task Force! This brings the total number of wild cats up to forty species. The two new species are the African Wild Cat(Felis lybica) and Sunda Leopard Cat(Prionailurus javanensis).

African Wild Cat

Arkive image - African wildcat stalking prey

The African Wild Cat (Felis lybica) was previously considered a subspecies of the European Wild Cat (Felis silvestris). It’s former scientific name was Felis silvestris lybica. It is found in Africa and Asia.

There are three tentative subspecies for this new species:
Felis lybica lybica – Found in east, west, and north Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East, Corsica, Sardinia and Crete.
Felis lybica cafra – Found in southern Africa
Felis lybica ornata – Found in southwest and central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, and China.

Sunda Leopard Cat

Arkive photo - Leopard cat in mangrove habitat

The Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) was previously considered a subspecies of the newly re-named Mainland Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). It’s former scientific name was Prionailurus bengalensis javanensis. It is found in Java, Bali, Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Panay, Philippines, and possibly the Malayan Peninsula.

There are two two recognized subspecies for this new species:
Prionailurus javanensis javanensis – Found in Java and Bali
Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus – Found in Borneo, Sumatra, Palawan, Negros, Cebu and Panay, and the Philippines

It is important to recognize that these animals were not discovered in the traditional sense of finding previously unseen individuals in the field. Rather, taxonomists and geneticists determined through morphological, genetic, and biogeographical data that species previously thought to be the same, are in fact multiple species. With time, these findings may change again. Species may be lumped back into one, or split even further.

For the full list of the forty species of wild cat, including the two new additions, please see my list here.

Bibliography:

Cat News, Special Issue, Number 11, Winter 2017: A revised taxonomy of the Felidae

Thank you for 2016!

Following in the tradition of the past, I would like to take this time to thank the people and organizations which made 2016 an amazing photographic year!

People

In the beginning of the year, I worked a lot with the Santa Cruz Puma Project, which in fact was a continuation of working with them at the end of 2015. Having the privilege to photograph this stellar group of people was truly one I won’t ever forget. You have and continue to do amazing work for the pumas of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thank you so much!

I’d like to thank you Chris Wilmers for being open to me photographing the project activities. For making photography a priority of the project, and for sharing your time with me! This project will lead to extensive conservation actions being done for pumas in sub-urban environments. Thank you for continuing to push forward with the project!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Wilmers, using telemetry to determine if box trap has been triggered, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Wilmers, using telemetry to determine if box trap has been triggered, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Thank you Paul Houghtaling for dealing with the extra logistics of having me being on the team, for your patience, and for your conversations. For being one kick ass puma biologist! I will always cherish the hunts, the aerial tracking, and the den visits I got to share with you.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Paul Houghtaling, tracking mountain lions from airplane using telemtry, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Livermore, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Paul Houghtaling, tracking mountain lions from airplane using telemtry, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Livermore, California

Justine Alyssa Smith, I owe you so many thank yous. You were the first one I had the pleasure of working with from the SCPP. Without you, I would have never worked on the project at all. Thank you for taking the time to show me kill sites, for being an amazing conservationist, and a kick-ass biologist! Thank you for being such an accommodating model. I can’t wait to see what your future holds!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Justine Alyssa Smith, preparing anesthesia needle to sedate sub-adult male for collaring, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Justine Alyssa Smith, preparing anesthesia needle to sedate sub-adult male for collaring, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Thank you Max Allen for being such a hard core biologist. You put the biology first, and the amount of work you have accomplished is simply unbelievable. Thank you for sharing your research with me, I won’t ever forget it!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Max Allen, holding six week old male cub, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Max Allen, holding six week old male cub, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Sean McCain, thank you so much for taking the initiative multiple times to invite me on project activities. For always being game to model a shot, and for your dedication to the project. No job was too dirty for you, and it is something I very much respect! Thank you also for the conversations with Justine, I very much appreciated the honesty.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Sean McCain, setting up camera trap, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Sean McCain, setting up camera trap, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Thank you Chris Fust for allowing me to poke my camera in your face so willingly! One of my favorite moments will always be you singlehandedly pulling out 67M out of the box trap!

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Fust, using telemetry to track mother and cubs, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Chris Fust, using telemetry to track mother and cubs, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, California

I am so glad I was able to work with you, even for just a little bit Anna Nisi! I am so excited to see what exact project you choose and what your research career will turn into. Your kindness and generosity were more than apparent, even in just the two days we were able to be in the field together.

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Anna Nisi, using telemetry to track female, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) biologist, Anna Nisi, using telemetry to track female, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Troy Collinsworth. What a man you are. Thank you for all the rides, for the great conversations, for being such an amazing houndsman, and for sharing your trade with me. Your dogs are incredibly animals, and no-doubt a large part of it is due to you!

Houndsman, Troy Collinsworth, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Uvas Canyon County Park, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

Houndsman, Troy Collinsworth, Santa Cruz Puma Project, Uvas Canyon County Park, Santa Cruz Mountains, California

 

As did in 2015, last years spring took me back to the high Andes of Argentina, to continue the work on the Cat in Thin Air project, which highlights the Andean Mountain Cat. This project will continue for many more years, but I would like to thank the people who were directly helping me in the field this year, since it was no easy task.

Juan Reppucci, there aren’t enough good things I can say about you. Thank you for being such a dear friend. For always being willing to help, for amazing conversations, for just being a good person. I am truly lucky to know you and I am happy that we will get to continue working on this and other projects together! I am saddened that we are not living closer, but I very much cherish our online conversations!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Juan Reppucci, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Juan Reppucci, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Cintia Tellaeche, you are just as amazing! Your kindness and your hard-coreness are remarkable. Your food dishes, especially your in-the-field pizzas, are beyond yummy, and your love for cats is beyond apparent!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Cintia Tellaeche, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) biologist, Cintia Tellaeche, testing camera trap, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

You know those people who are just beyond nice, go out of their way to help others, and volunteer their time to help a cause they believe in? That’s Deanna and Michael Clifford! So honored to have met you both. It was a true privilege to get to spend the time in the mountains with you. Thank you for your positive attitudes, caring so much about wildlife, staying in touch, and being simply awesome people.

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationists Michael and Deanna Clifford, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationists Michael and Deanna Clifford, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina — great shirts by the way!

Not in any way less amazing is Amy Alexander. Though we only had a couple of days in the field together Amy, your great outlook on life was beyond apparent, and your dedication to wildlife palpable. Thank you for lending me the money for the cab, for getting the gang back together in California, and for being the great paced hiker that you are!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist Amy Alexander, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist Amy Alexander, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Thank you Eliana Segura for your dedication to the Andean cats, for volunteering your time, for always having a smile on your face, and for putting up with my beyond-lack of spanish.

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Eliana Segura, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Eliana Segura, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Jorge Luiz, thank you so much for helping me with the camera traps, for carrying too much gear, for the bracelet you made me, and for your friendship, it is not something I take lightly!

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Jorge Luiz, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita) conservationist, Jorge Luiz, Abra Granada, Andes, northwestern Argentina

Coming back to California, after the Andes, I was asked to photograph the research activities of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. The threatened snowy plover researchers Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl were nice enough to let me join as they banded three adorable plover chicks. Thank you Karine for being so welcoming, for your dedication to the plovers, for volunteering your time for the photography, and for being such a willing model. Ben, the same applies to you! Thank you two for the conversations, and the two great days on the salt ponds! (SFBBO is having a fund-raising drive for their snowy plover work, please consider donation so Karine and Ben can continue their conservation work!)

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl, warming and banding chicks, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) biologists, Karine Tokatlian and Ben Pearl, warming and banding chicks, Eden Landing Ecological Reserve, Union City, Bay Area, California

In the fall, I headed back to Kyrgyzstan to work along side Panthera’s powerhouse snow leopard team. It was a seven week long trip, and is one filled with conversations and experiences I will never ever forget. Living in close quarters for that amount of time either brings you together or breaks you apart. It was a true privilege to further strengthen relationships and make incredible new friendships.

First up is Shannon Kachel, who is the principal investigator of the snow leopard project in Kyrgyzstan. The adjectives to describe Shannon could be a page long, but some of the ones that stand out are determined, persistent, dedicated, intelligent, caring, understanding, hopeful, buff, fearless, academic, and a good friend. Thank you Shannon for allowing me to join the project one more time, for your patience, for your understanding, for really treasured conversations, for caring about snow leopards so deeply, and for doing things the right way. Miss you buddy! Also, you are too cool for a picture, so you get a video 🙂

Thank you Tanya Rosen for always being beyond supportive. For fighting for me to come back to Kyrgyzstan, for arranging so many of the logistics, and for your positive, well-rounded outlook on life!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Tanya Rosen, checking email in camp, Pikertyk, Tian Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Tanya Rosen, checking email in camp, Pikertyk, Tian Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Zair Kubanychbekov, thank you for your tireless efforts in saving snow leopards, for being a logistics guru, for the airport rides, for getting us unstuck, for your super positive outlook and for sharing your culture with me.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Zair Kubanychbekov, trying to get car unstuck, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Zair Kubanychbekov, trying to get car unstuck, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Ric for the hilarious conversations, for showing me some self defense moves without breaking my whole body, for fighting through the pain of a broken finger, for sharing the beyond delicious snacks, and for your friendship!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Ric Berlinski, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Ric Berlinski, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

A big thank you to you as well John Ochsenreiter, for the interesting conversations, for your help setting up the camera traps, for bringing the salt and pepper shaker, for giving me your sleeping bag (it was much needed) and for killing it with M1.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, John Ochsenreiter, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, John Ochsenreiter, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Rahim Kulenbek (doing the fun task of checking the temperature of m2 in the below picture) for your help with the camera traps, the honest conversations, for bringing in all that dried Yak poop for the fire, and for some delicious Tuna pasta!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Shannon Kachel, reading PIT tag during collaring of male snow leopard, with veterinarian, Ric Berlinski, biologist, Rahim Kulenbek, and ranger, Urmat Solokov, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Shannon Kachel, reading PIT tag during collaring of male snow leopard, with veterinarian, Ric Berlinski, biologist, Rahim Kulenbek, and ranger, Urmat Solokov, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

David, we got to spend a lot of time together and I enjoyed all of it. Thank you for putting up with my weirdness, for always being game, for not making fun of me when I was lagging behind, for your help with the camera traps, for not killing me on one of your chosen routes, and for the great conversations!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, David Cooper, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, David Cooper, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Dan Dahlgren for proving that age is not a limiting factor, for helping set up camera traps, for sharing the stove, for bringing the popcorn which we enjoyed long past your departure, for staying in touch, and for caring so much about snow leopards!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Dan Dahlgren, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Dan Dahlgren, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Aaron Wising, thank you for the ranging conversations, for supporting Shannon and the whole project, for being willing to take a break every time I needed one, and for carrying the camera trap up to the highest place we ever put one in Kyrgyzstan!!

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Aaron Wirsing, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationist, Aaron Wirsing, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

And finally, but in no way least important, thank you to all the rangers (including Mukhtar, Ulan, Urmat, Joky, Askat, Mishka, Tepa, Tesha, Kamchibek, and Omurbek) for your help with the horses, for cooking, for helping us safely cross the river, and for ensuring the protection of snow leopards in Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve!!

Rangers Temirlan Baktygul, Urmat Solokov, Anne-lise Cabanat, Michel Gierst, Temirbek Jandrbaev listening to Ulan Abulgaziev playing the ukulele, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan relaxing in camp during evening, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Rangers Temirlan Baktygul, Urmat Solokov, Anne-lise Cabanat, Michel Gierst, Temirbek Jandrbaev listening to Ulan Abulgaziev playing the ukulele, Sarychat-Ertash Strict Nature Reserve, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

I hope I did not leave anyone out, please know that if I did, it’s my fault and I very much thank you as well (but do let me know and I’ll add you!). Thank you to all for making 2016 so amazing, filled with incredible experiences, memories, and friendships.

Organizations

I have been working with Panthera for over four years now and what a privilege it has been. Panthera is the leading feline conservation group in the world. Their work is incredibly far reaching and impactful. Thank you for your tireless push to save wild cats. You are making a huge difference. To the general public, please donate to them, if you are in any way interested in cat conservation. 100% of your donation will go directly into the field!

The Santa Cruz Puma Project is a juggernaut in the puma research world. The multi-faceted work they are doing in regards to the mountain lions of the Santa Cruz Mountains is incredible. Thank you for allowing me to be the project’s photographer for quite a few months, for your dedication to the research, and for engaging the public!

Santa Cruz Puma Project

 

The Andean Cat Alliance is a multinational and interdisciplinary network founded in 1999 by professionals from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru to develop coordinated actions for the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat. They aspire to the conservation and long term maintenance of Andean cat populations and its habitat, in harmony with human populations. Having had the honor of getting to work with you, and now being a member of the alliance is something I deeply cherish. Thank you for your continued work on promoting the conservation of one of the world’s least known wild cats!

AndeanCatAlliance

The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory (SFBBO) is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats through science and outreach. Founded in 1981, the Bird Observatory has produced over 30 years of scientific information on local bird populations, working with both government agencies and partner organizations. Thank you for allowing me into your world, for your dedication to the birds of the bay area, and for fighting for what you believe in!

San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

List of the Wild Cat Species of the World

Updated on May 9th, 2017 to reflect new taxonomic decisions made by the IUCN Cat Specialist Group’s Cat Classification Task Force.

Wild Cat Species Silhouettes

So how many different species of wild cats are there in the world? That depends on who you ask. The answer ranges from 37 to 42 species. The reason for this is that cat taxonomy is incredibly difficult and genetic analysis is still shedding light on the matter. Just in early 2017, the Sunda Leopard Cat was determined to be its own species from the Leopard Cat — now called the Mainland Leopard Cat. So, to clear things up, I put together the most accepted list of the 40 wild cat species in the world. This list will undoubtedly change in the future, especially as genetic analysis reveals that current species are actually multiple different species, but I’ll be sure to update it when that happens. The list is organized by the eight different feline lineages. Finally, the underlined common names are links to pictures I have of that species.

Common Name Latin Name Lineage
1. Lion Panthera leo
2. Leopard Panthera pardus
3. Jaguar Panthera onca
4. Tiger Panthera tigris Panthera Lineage
5. Snow Leopard Panthera uncia
6. Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa
7. Sunda Clouded Leopard Neofelis diardi
8. Asiatic Golden Cat Catopuma temminckii
9. Borneo Bay Cat Catopuma badia Bay Cat Lineage
10. Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata
11. Caracal Caracal caracal
12. African Golden Cat Caracal aurata Caracal Lineage
13. Serval Leptailurus serval
14. Geoffroy’s Cat Leopardus geoffroyi
15. Guiña Leopardus guigna
16. Southern Oncilla Leopardus guttulus
17. Northern Oncilla Leopardus tigrinus Ocelot Lineage
18. Andean Cat Leopardus jacobita
19. Colocolo Leopardus colocola
20. Margay Leopardus wiedii
21. Ocelot Leopardus pardalis
22. Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus
23. Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx Lynx Lineage
24. Canada Lynx Lynx canadensis
25. Bobcat Lynx rufus
26. Mountain Lion Puma concolor
27. Jaguarundi Herpailurus yagouaroundi Puma Lineage
28. Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus
29. Mainland Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis
30. Sunda Leopard Cat Prionailurus javanensis
31. Fishing Cat Prionailurus viverrinus
32. Flat-headed Cat Prionailurus planiceps Leopard Cat Lineage
33. Rusty-spotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus
34. Pallas Cat Otocolobus manul
35. European Wild Cat Felis silvestris
36. African Wild Cat Felis lybica
37. Chinese Mountain Cat Felis bieti
38. Sand Cat Felis margarita Domestic Cat Lineage
39. Black-footed Cat Felis nigripes
40. Jungle Cat Felis chaus

The currently listed subspecies that are sometimes listed as their own species.

Common Name Latin Name Sometimes Classified As
Pampas Cat Leopardus colocolo pajeros Leopardus pajeros
Pantanal Cat Leopardus colocolo braccatus Leopardus braccatus
Iriomote Cat Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis Prionailurus iriomotensis

 

Thank you for 2015!

As is now tradition, I want to take this time to thank the people and organizations which made 2015 another fabulous photographic year!

People

I traveled to both Bolivia and Argentina to initiate the first phase of the Cat in Thin Air project to showcase the endangered Andean Mountain Cat with concrete goals to help its conservation. My first stop was in Bolivia where I met the amazing team of Juan Carlos Huaranca Ariste and Alejandra Rocio Torrez Tarqui. Together they have eighteen years of experience working on the Andean Cat. Juan Carlos focuses on the research aspect of the wild cat, while Alejandra leads the charge in doing the educational outreach in the region where the Andean Cat is present. Together, they are an unstoppable force, creating real conservation change for this cat. You can read more about them here.

Due to your help, Ale and Junca, we were able to get a picture of a Pampas Cat in the high Andes of Bolivia. Thank you. Thank you also for constantly being ok speaking english, for being patient with me, for helping with logistics, for allowing me a glimpse into your world, and for your friendship.

Juan Carlos Huaranca Ariste in the Altiplano, western Bolivia

Juan Carlos Huaranca Ariste in the Altiplano, western Bolivia

Alejandra Rocio Torrez Tarqui in the Altiplano, western Bolivia

Alejandra Rocio Torrez Tarqui in the Altiplano, western Bolivia

All the work that Ale and Junca are doing is overseen by Ma. Lilian Villalba. In fact, Lilian coordinates the research and conservation projects for all the Andean Cat Alliance projects within the four countries in which the Andean Cat lives. Additionally, she is also in charge of raising the capital needed for all of these activities. Finally, she had to deal with my logistics, including visiting two projects during a one month period. Thank you Lilian for your amazing strength and commitment to the Andean Cat. It needs a champion like you!

Ma. Lilian Villalba in La Paz, Bolivia

Ma. Lilian Villalba in La Paz, Bolivia

Thank you Don Mario Llusco for being an amazing guide through the labyrinth of the Bolivian altiplano. Thank you for helping me carry gear. Thank you for your smile.

Don Mario Llusco, western Bolivia

Don Mario Llusco, western Bolivia

Don Rodolfo Apaza Chuquimia, thank you for your sturdy driving, for the amazing home-cooked meal, and for allowing us to crash in your beautiful house.

Don Rodolfo Apaza Chuquimia, western Bolivia

Don Rodolfo Apaza Chuquimia, western Bolivia

From Bolivia, I went on to Argentina. There, I had the privilege of meeting a whole new group of simply amazing people. Juan Ignacio Reppucci, Cintia Tellaeche, Romina Matamala and Mauro Lucherini are all involved with the Andean Cat in one capacity or another. Juani and Cintia are the principal scientists of the ecological study they are conducting in Jujuy Province. They have been running up and down mountains to study this cat for a combined eighteen years. That’s a whole lot of miles and commitment. Romina is working to help the surrounding communities establish themselves as an ecotourism location, which will allow them to move away from mining as an income stream, which at the same time will help the Andean Cat re-establish habitat. Mauro oversees both of these projects and is constantly fundraising to make sure they can continue.

Juani and Cintia, thank you for sharing your time, for allowing me to always point a camera in your direction, for the amazing conversations, for your friendship, for your honesty, for your helpfulness, and for your pure hearts. Romina, thank you for being ok with my obnoxiousness, for being a great sport, for your amazing cooking, and for your friendship. Mauro, thank you for the logistical support, for answering my questions, and for your visit to California. To all of you, the Andean Cat picture because exists because of our teamwork. Thank you!

Juan Ignacio Reppucci in the high Andes of Argentina

Juan Ignacio Reppucci in the high Andes of Argentina

Cintia Tellaeche in the high Andes of Argentina

Cintia Tellaeche in the high Andes of Argentina

Romina Matamala in the high Andes of Argentina

Romina Matamala in the high Andes of Argentina

Mauro Lucherini, Jujuy Province, Argentina

Mauro Lucherini, Jujuy Province, Argentina

After South America, I traveled to Kyrgyzstan where I was sent to photograph Snow Leopards in the Tian Shan mountains. Now there is a very large team to thank for this project, so hang in there. Tanya Rosen Michel is the snow leopard program director for Panthera in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Talk about a demanding job. I admire you for your continuous push Tanya, more snow leopards exist because of you. Thank you also for all of your help in making the trip a reality, for honest conversations over delicious dinners, and for fighting for snow leopards in central Asia.

Tanya Rosen Michel, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Tanya Rosen Michel, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

The principal biologist of the project is Shannon Kachel, who is a PhD student at the University of Washington. He is in the process of placing satelitte collars on snow leopards to determine more about their ecology, especially how it relates to wolves. Having had the privilege to see what his work constitutes, all I can say is wow. Shannon, your persistence is admirable, your optimism is unwavering, your work ethic is constant. I am in true awe of you and I thank you for all of those things. Thank you also for your friendship, for heartfelt conversations, and for stopping in California to go herping!

Shannon Kachel, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Shannon Kachel, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Alongside Shannon was Khalil Karimov, a Tajik biologist who is getting his masters at the University of Vienna, in Austria. Khalil basically grew up in the mountains. He can tell you how long an Ibex’s horns are to within three centimeters (we tested this after collecting about twenty horns from already dead animals). He can spot a Marco Polo Sheep herd that is over 4 miles away. He runs up a 14,000 foot mountain as if it was childsplay. Khalil, simply put, you are amazing. Thank you for all of your help in the mountains, for helping carry gear, for camouflaging the sh*t out of the camera traps, for cooking up some mean dinners, for the brutally honest conversations, and most of all your friendship.

Khalil Karimov, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Khalil Karimov, Tien Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Rana Bayrakcismith handles all of the logistics for all of the snow leopard projects that Panthera supports and runs in Asia. Even though she is primarily based in Seattle, I had the pleasure of meeting her in the field in Kyrgyzstan. Your love for cats (including domestics) is just awesome Rana. Thank you for our fun conversations, for nerding out on cats, and for answering all of my questions before the trip!!

Rana Bayrakcismith, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Rana Bayrakcismith, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

John Ochsenreiter is a vet mostly of your domestic dogs and kitties at home, but he was nice enough to volunteer his time in Kyrgyzstan to be in charge of anything medical related to the wildlife that could wonder into the traps. Thank you John for your commitment to the project! Thank you also for introducing me to more music and for cooking all that cream of wheat!

John Ochsenreiter, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

John Ochsenreiter, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Zairbek Kubanychbekov for playing chauffeur from and to the airport even though you had much better things to do. Thank you for caring about snow leopards and for your persistence in creating greater conservation change in Kyrgyzstan for snow leopards.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationists, Tanya Rosen and Zair Kubanychbekov, and biologist, Khalil Karimov, making final project arrangments, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) conservationists, Tanya Rosen and Zair Kubanychbekov, and biologist, Khalil Karimov, making final project arrangements, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Ulan Toktosunov is an extremely skilled horseman and is a ranger in snow leopard country. Thank you Ulan, for letting me ride the horse “haircut”, for keeping me alive riding through the mountains, and for bringing us delicious food throughout the project.

Ulan Toktosunov, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Ulan Toktosunov, Tien Shan Mountains, eastern Kyrgyzstan

Thank you Munavvar Alidodov for being willing to converse in English and for fighting for snow leopards. The community based conservation you are involved in is not only protecting thousands of ungulates, it is in fact the reason those ungulate populations are expanding.

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Munavvar Alidodov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) biologist, Munavvar Alidodov, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

After Kyrgyzstan came Costa Rica, where I worked with the Coastal Jaguar Conservation team, photographing you guessed it, jaguars that live on the coast. The team is led by biologists Stephanny Arroyo-Arce and Ian Thomson. These two have been studying the Jaguars of Tortuguero National Park since 2012 and have published multiple scientific papers about the unique ecological processes that go on there. Most importantly, I have never met two people so caring about animal welfare. These two will not compromise the welfare of their study animals, period. It is something I deeply respect about them.

Stephanny, your work ethic is second to none, your need for cleaning even more so :), and your love for Jaguars unquestionable. Thank you for your consistent dedication to these amazing animals. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the project, for always being willing to have your picture taken, for helping with the camera traps, for the great conversations, for caring, and for your friendship.

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Stephanny Arroyo-Arce, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Stephanny Arroyo-Arce, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Ian, your humor and sarcasm are hilarious, and often needed in the heat of Tortuguero. Your dedication is as strong as Stephanny’s, and that’s saying something. Your knife and machete skills are inspiring, and your photography is stunning and jealousy inducing. Thank you for amazing conversations, for lending me the CF card, for clearing the crap out of the plants near the camera traps, and for your friendship.

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Ian Thomson, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Ian Thomson, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Thank you Eleonore Hachemen, for allowing me to take your picture and for your work with Jaguars. Taking down data can be tedious, but you obviously work hard at it and it will make a difference for the long term survival of the big cats.

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Eleonore Hachemen, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Jaguar (Panthera onca) biologist, Eleonore Hachemen, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Thank you Jizel Miles for your very hard work you did on the project. Stephanny and Ian were quite proud of your work, and it was obvious why. I know you have moved on to caracals and leopards now, but all wild cats thank you for your dedication towards them. Also, a huge thank you for only turning your back sometimes when I aimed the camera at you :).

Jizel Miles, Eleonore Hachemen, Ian Thomson, and Eleonore Hachemen, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Jizel Miles, Eleonore Hachemen, Ian Thomson, and Eleonore Hachemen, Coastal Jaguar Conservation Project, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Finally, thank you to Jorge Avella for the boat rides to and from the national park and keeping all the gear dry along the way!

Jorge Avella driving down channel, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Jorge Avella driving down channel, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

I am currently working a lot with the mountain lion biologists from the Santa Cruz Puma Project, and they too deserve their thank yous. Since the work continues though, I will thank them properly next year. Thank you to all of you for making 2015 not only a success, but a year filled with great memories!

Organizations

Like  the last two years, I would like to thank the cat conservation organization Panthera. Their wild cat conservation efforts is simply unrivaled. The scope at which they work is seemingly overwhelming, yet they constantly are accomplishing conservation change all around the world. It is a true honor to have had the privilege to work together last year (and as always, I very much look forward to working together in the new year!). Please keep doing what you are doing; cats and people all over the world are thankful for it. To the general public, please donate to them, if you are in any way interested in cat conservation. 100% of your donation will go directly into the field!

Panthera Logo

 

The Andean Cat Alliance is a multinational and interdisciplinary network founded in 1999 by professionals from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru to develop coordinated actions for the conservation of the Andean cat and its habitat. They aspire to the conservation and long term maintenance of Andean cat populations and its habitat, in harmony with human populations. Thank you for allowing me to work with you and for continuously pushing conservation for the Andean Cat. Doing so on a shoestring budget makes it even more impressive!

 

AndeanCatAlliance

 

The Coastal Jaguar Conservation project was started in 2012 and aims to monitor the populations of jaguars and their prey species on the Caribbean of Costa Rica. In particular, it’s focus is on researching the unique behavior of jaguars predating on nesting sea turtles. Thank you for allowing me to work with you guys. I know having me join is a lot of extra work and I really appreciated how you never made me feel like a burden. Thank you for your work on these amazingly unique Jaguars, they will continue to need champions like you!

CoastalJaguarConservation

California Wildlife Photography Workshop Dates Released

There are workshops covering everything from salamanders to sea otters!

There are workshops covering everything from salamanders to sea otters!

In anticipation of next year, I finalized the dates for a bunch of wildlife photography workshops based in California, mainly around Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can check out all the info here: http://www.pumapix.com/wildlife-photography-workshops-and-lessons/

Workshop dates are as follows:
February 27th, 2016 – Santa Cruz and Moss Landing, California – Sea Otter Photography Workshop
February 28th, 2016 – Santa Cruz, California – Salamanders of the central coast of California Photography Workshop
May 14th-15th, 2016 – Pinnacles National Park, California – California Condor Photography Workshop
May 21st, 2016 – Santa Cruz, California – Brown Pelican Photography Workshop
August 20th, 2016 – Point Reyes National Seashore, California – Tule Elk Photography Workshop
October, 22nd through November 5th, 2016 – New Zealand – Birds of New Zealand Photography Workshop