Going along with everything wild cat related I wanted to offer up my personal reviews on books about wild cats, for two reasons. One, I own most books written on wild cats, and two, if you are interested in wild cats and getting more information about them, then I think it’s nice when you know which ones are worth buying. So without further ado, my first review.
This book serves as a guide to the whole wild cat family (Felidae), looking at each individual species known to science (which is 38, including the recently discovered Southern Tigrina). It first looks at the evolutionary history of this mammalian family and gives you insights into what species are most closely related and how eight different lineages (groups of closely related species) have evolved. It then goes directly into the species descriptions which cover 87% of the book. It concludes with a chapter on the conservation of wild cats.
What Information is given about the Wild Cat Species
Each of the 38 wild cat species has the following topics covered: taxonomy and phylogeny, description, distribution and habitat, feeding ecology, social and spacial behavior, reproduction and demography, and status and threats. Each of those topics goes into great detail without being overbearing. For example, it states that leopards are known to feed upon over 200 species of prey without listing you all 200 species (yes, there are books that list all the species — to be reviewed later). I would describe the text as data driven, but readable to non-scientists.
Each species is introduced by a beautiful full body drawing which makes identification easy, along with a range map, and skull drawing. After the introductory drawing are some of the most unique photographs I have seen published of wild cats (full disclosure: I took some of the pictures in this book — but I am definitely talking about the pictures in general!). A few things that really stood out to me. One, most of the images are of wild cats in the wild, which is generally not the case for many books on wild cats; secondly there are many images which I have never seen been published before; finally, there are an incredible amount of behavioral pictures, also a rare feat!
Additionally, the drawings by Priscilla Barrett of behaviors that have not yet been captured on film are incredibly beautiful and insightful into the lives of these secretive animals. With a total of over 400 photographs and drawings, this book is simply beautiful to look at.
Who is this book for?
The amazing quality of this book is that it is equally appropriate for children learning about the different wild cat species for the first time as well as seasoned biologists who want to know the latest information on the cat species.
Would I recommend buying this book?
This book is a must have if you are at all interested in wild cats. You can get your copy here.