Forest Cats – Brazil

Forest Cats – Brazil is a multidisciplinary large scale, study of Brazilian felids. The project started in 2004 with a study of the biology, distribution and conservation of the Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), but soon expanded to include studies with the rest of Brazilian felids, hence the name “Forest Cats – Brazil”. The Project now has over 20 participants, working in 9 states and in all biomes, except for momentânea in the Pantanal. We are constantly expanding study areas, participating researchers and subject areas.

The Neotropical cats are among the least known in the world, with little information available on species ecology or conservation. All are listed as endangered – in different categories throughout their distribution and this project seeks to better understand different aspects involved in the conservation of these species and thus establish possible strategies to ensure long-term survival of these felines = “Forest Cats” in their different habitats. Among the actions developed by the project we study the home range, habitat use, food habits, distribution, genetics, abundance, reproduction, disease, predation on livestock, threats and conservation status. A pioneering part of this project is to examine the re-introduction of animals born in captivity as a tool for the conservation of small cats.


  • Conduct ecological studies (telemetry) to determine home range, activity patterns, eating habits, daily movement and other data of smaller species;
  • Assess the potential of re-introduction as a tool for conservation of small felids;
  • Assess the geographical distribution and genetic composition of “Forest Cat” populations;
  • To verify the occurrence of hybrids with other Neotropical felids e.g. Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocolo);
  • Assess the composition of felid communities and provide species density estimates for all biomes;
  • Assess basic data on the reproductive biology of small cats;
  • Identify the diseases affecting wild and captive populations;
  • Determine the major threats and conservation status for the different areas of Brazil.

Data on community composition and species abundance estimates have been obtained through the use of camera traps, including cameras developed by team members, which were highly efficient, with a cost / benefit ratio far better than traditional makes. Analysis of faeces has allowed us to know more about the diets of these species, genetic studies have focused on determining the evolutionary units of the small forest cats, data on the reproductive biology of the species have been collected from captive animals, and the use of telemetry has brought data on movement, home range and activity patterns.

Institutions involved: Instituto Pró-Carnívoros, UEMA, CENAP / ICMBio, UFRGS, São Paulo Zoo, Caipora, AQUASIS, MCT-PUCRS, PUCRS, Pró-Vida Brasil, USP, UNESP

Operational area


Responsible team

Project coordinator:

Tadeu Gomes de Oliveira

Team – Ecology Research:

Tadeu Gomes de Oliveira

Marcos Adriano Tortato
Carlos Benhur Kasper
Fábio Dias Mazim
Rosane Vera Marques
José Bonifácio Garcia Soares
Rogério Cunha de Paula
Thieres Pinto
Adilson Schneider
Gitana Nunes Cavalcanti
Cynthia Soares

Team – Reintroduction / Reproductive Biology:

Katia Cassaro
Mara Cristina Marques
Tais Scatena
Márcio Motta
Lilian Rampim
Anna Paula Pereira
Team – Genetics:
Eduardo Eizirik
Tatiane Campos Trigo
Sandro L. Bonatto

Team – WIldlife Diseases:

Cláudia Filoni
José Luiz Catão Dias
Betina Metzger

Learn more about projects developed by IPC