Why big cats are at high risk of extinction due to their exceptional predatory abilities. What conservation strategies are needed?

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Megan D Bjordal


Cats have highly specialized physical adaptations for hypercarnivory, placing them among the most feared predators. Unique adaptations include strong skulls, sharp teeth, agile and muscular limbs, a taste only for meat, and hyper-retractable claws. These predator adaptations, which characterize the family Felidae, put Felids at high risk of human conflicts. Nearly all of the big cats have threatened or near threatened conservation statuses and 29 of the 37 Felidae species have decreasing population trends. Conservation strategies that consider the large habitats and herbivores required for these specialized predators are needed.