The internet was practically built on cute animal content, and one conservation organisation is taking that tradition to the next level, releasing live-cam footage of wild cats of all kinds – from the sleek jaguars of the Belizean jungle to the tiny sand cat kittens of the Morrocan Sahara.

For nearly 15 years, global wild cat conservation organisation Panthera has been working to protect dozens of threatened and endangered species – leopards, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and more – from threats like hunting, poaching, and habitat erasure. Along the way, its research teams have captured photo and video of felines young and old from around the world, and now, with the launch of Window to the Wild, the highlights are available through one easily accessible portal.

Estimated to be six to eight weeks old, these wild sand cat kittens were photographed in their African range – the Moroccan Sahara – for the first time by researchers in 2017. Finding sand cats in their natural range (northern Africa, across the Middle East, and southwest and central Asia) is difficult.
These wild sand cat kittens, about six to eight weeks old, were photographed in their African range for the first time in 2017 © Grégory Breton

Technically, sand cats can be found in northern Africa, the Middle East, and southwest and central Asia, but spotting them is the tough part. “They barely leave any visible pugmarks, they don’t leave behind remains of their prey, and their vocalisations are quiet,” Panthera France managing director Grégory Breton wrote for Field Notes, Panthera’s blog. “They move stealthily at dusk, night, and dawn, they’re good at hiding, and their fur provides perfect camouflage when they want to vanish from observers and threats.” In 2017, Breton’s small team managed to locate a trio of wild six-to-eight-week-old kittens in the Moroccan Sahara – believed to be the first documentation of its kind in the cats’ African range.

A leopard cub and mother come in for a selfie in southern Africa.
A leopard cub and mother pose for a selfie in southern Africa © Johanna Taylor/Panthera

The most persecuted big cat in the world, leopards are considered vulnerable, not threatened or endangered – at least not for the moment. Here, a leopard cub and its mother pose for a selfie in southern Africa. 

A serval in southern Africa – one of Africa’s small cat species. Servals are built for height rather than speed. Elongated bones and enlarged ears help this wild cat specialize in catching small prey, usually by pouncing on them.
A serval – one of Africa’s small cat species – in southern Africa © Panthera

Servals are one of Africa’s small cat species, distinguishable by their elongated bones and enlarged ears – all the better to pounce on their prey. Though Panthera’s primary focus is big cats, the organisation is working on an initiative to save the world’s 33 species of small cat as well. 

For more videos, plus information on the nonprofit and the cats themselves, visit panthera.org

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