Share This Page

The African Golden Cat: Rising Star of Videos and Photos

African golden cat in Gabon in front of stationary camera used to track this elusive animal. Photo credit: Panthera

African golden cat in Gabon in front of stationary camera used to track this elusive animal. Photo credit: David R Mills/Panthera/WCS

When you think about wild cats in Africa, chances are what comes to mind is a majestic lion or sleek cheetah.  You probably don’t think about the African golden cat, a wild cat about twice the size of a large domestic house cat found in the thick tropical forests of West and Central Africa.

Until recently, scientists didn’t know much about the elusive African golden cat.  The use of remote cameras in areas where it is known to live is providing new information about its habits, numbers and overall status in the wild. The results have been amazing photos and videos.

African golden cat kitten in Kibale Forest, Uganda.

African golden cat kitten in Kibale Forest, Uganda. Photo credit: Panthera

Panthera, an Aid for Africa member devoted to conserving wild cats and their ecosystems, supports scientific researchers studying the African golden cat.  This smallish, powerful feline, which can be gray or brown in addition to the golden color of its name, is elusive and hunts small deer, monkeys, rodents and birds, usually in the night or early mornings. Photos have captured cats with their kittens, and, recently, scientists captured for the first time on video an African golden cat hunting in daylight in Uganda’s Kibale National Park.


African golden cat hunting red colobus monkeys in Uganda.

According to Panthera, “Very few western scientists have observed the living animal in the wild and almost all records of the African golden cat consist of photographs taken by remote camera traps, or of dead animals, usually killed by hunters.”

Why should we care about the African golden cat?  Because scientists fear its numbers are falling because of hunting and the loss of habitat due to deforestation.  It is designated as “Near Threatened” by IUCN, the organization tasked with monitoring wildlife worldwide.

Panthera is using the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists to develop and  implement global conservation strategies for the most imperiled wild cats. Learn more about its work.