Three of Jordan’s four feline species ‘critically endangered’ — research

[05-04-2022 09:46 AM]

Ammon News - Research by the Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity has shown “an alarming decline” in feline species habitats in the Kingdom, with three now being categorised as critically endangered.

According to the research, titled “Habitat Suitability Modelling for Feline Species in Jordan: A tool for Climate-Responsive Conservation Planning”, three of the four known feline species in Jordan – caracal, sand cat and jungle cat – are categorised as critically endangered. The fourth species, the wild cat, is a species of least concern.

The research found that human activities such as hunting, poisoning, habitat destruction and fragmentation are among the pressures seriously affecting the small and restricted populations of critically endangered felines.

“Feline species are reportedly native to Jordan,” the research noted.

The research added that both the caracal and jungle cat have a confined range of distribution within Jordan, and they are rarely seen.

The predicted suitable habitats for caracal are expected to shrink to 88 per cent by 2050, according to current and predicted future climatic conditions.

“The eventual habitat loss for the jungle cat in Jordan is estimated at 84 per cent due to climate change,” the research added.

“The sand cat is predicted to go locally extinct by 2050 as it loses its entire suitable habitat in 2070,” the research stated.

The research added that in terms of feline species richness, the current hotspot for the feline is concentrated on the narrow western strip that lies to the east of the Dead Sea.

Moreover, the research predicts a significant decrease of this hotspot and a shift towards the north-west corner of the Kingdom. The research added that the remaining feline-rich strip is located outside the current protected areas network and deemed outside the current conservation measures of the Kingdom.

According to the research, Jordan’s network of protected areas was deemed inadequate to protect the feline species and maintain their population.

The research suggested potential solutions to counter the combined anticipated impacts occurring from both human activities and anticipated climate forecasts.

“It is necessary to strengthen the enforcement of environmental policies intended to protect reserves and natural areas”, the research added.

The research suggested that minimising human pressures and reviewing the current network of protected areas would help protect feline species habitat.

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