Big cats

Many species of big cats are threatened by the illegal wildlife trade because of a demand for their teeth, claws, bones, fur and skins.

Many species of big cats are threatened by the illegal wildlife trade because of a demand for their teeth, claws, bones, fur and skins.

The Big cat family includes tigers, lions, jaguars, cheetahs and leopards; all of which are threatened by poaching. 

Top facts

  • Leopards hunt alone and generally at night.
  • Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world.
  • Lions are the most social of the big cats, with the loudest roar.
  • Tigers are the largest big cat in the world.
  • Jaguars are the largest of South America’s big cats.

Demand is high for

Teeth, claws, bones – seen as status symbols of success and wealth

Fur and skins – used as clothing and rugs

Traded as pets

The most endangered of the big cats are tigers. There are fewer than 4,000 wild tigers left worldwide and it is estimated that over 100 individuals are illegally trafficked every year. Meanwhile it is estimated that there are only about 20,000 lions left in the wild, with population declines in many regions.

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