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Science College, General Science Dept


3. Distribution of Felidae Around the World


The Felidae are found native to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. By the time that the Felidae were evolving and spreading out, Antarctica and Australia were surrounded by oceans.

Look at the movie to see the ranges of different cat species:

                            General Ranges of Cats Today

 (Limits are not exactly defined)


Ranges show that many cats are confined to particular regions-- the tiger to South-East Asia; the jaguar to the Americas; and the snow-leopard to Central Asia. Sadly, in former times many cats had much larger ranges than they do today, and were more plentiful within their ranges. Lions used to be found widespread over America, Europe, Asia and Africa, for example-- now, except for one small population in India they are confined to Africa. 

Many members of our family face extinction within the next twenty-five years or fifty years. Their populations have declined mostly because as human population has increased worldwide, there has been less wilderness for cats (as well as other species). Decline has also resulted from the fur trade and the supposed medicinal or magical properties of the body parts of many cats-- tiger teeth and jaguar fur, for example.


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