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10 BIG CATS and Where to Spot them

by Mara K

Post image for 10 BIG CATS and Where to Spot them

Mad about cats? Want to take a walk on the wild side on your next vacation? Check out these hot spots to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest and most ferocious cats!

1) Bengal Tigers, India

Found in regions of South Asia, Bengal tigers are some of the most striking of big cats.  It is estimated that less than 2500 Bengal tigers remain in the wild, and they have an aggressive, solitary nature.

This makes viewing them difficult, so visit a conservation area like Rathambore Reserve in Rajasthan, India.

Accessible from Jaipur, the best time to see Bengals is in the hot months of May and June, when the soaring temperatures send the tigers flocking to waterholes.

flickrfavorites

2) Siberian Tigers, China

Also known as Amur tigers, Siberian tigers are the world’s largest species of cat and are nicknamed “King of the Forest.”

Although their climate is cold and harsh, Siberian tigers prefer the openness of their vast woodland habitats.

Because of their geographic isolation, the best place to see them is at the world’s largest conservation and breeding ground for Siberian tigers in Heilongjiang, China.

Tambako the Jaguar

3) African Lions, Kenya

African lions and their wild manes are synonymous with the grassy savannas of sub-Saharan Africa.

The African lion is known for its fearsome reputation and perhaps for good reason: loss of habitat due to human encroachment is the number one threat to these big cats.

There are lots of places to see African Lions in the wild but in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya, lions can be seen hunting in prides during the annual wildebeest migration— dramatic experience not to be missed.

bob P&S

4) Asiatic Lions, India

Highly symbolic in both Buddhism and Hinduism, Asiatic lions are revered across Asia for their fearlessness and beauty.

Lions in Eurasia once roamed from Greece to India, but wild Asiatic lions are now found exclusively in Gir National Forest in Gujarat, India.

Michelle Bartsch

5) Jaguars, Brazil

The third largest cat behind tigers and lions is South America’s jaguar.

Prominent in Native American cultures, the jaguar is known in some traditions as the lord of the underworld. Seen as a symbol of strength, the jaguar is the national animal of Guyana and was the mascot of the Olympics held in Mexico City.

In the Mato Grosso do Sul region of Brazil, jaguars roam free in the Pantanal conservation area. But be prepared to be patient–sightings of these solitary cats is extremely rare.

fenoak

6) Leopards, Botswana

Leopards are some of the world’s fastest and most graceful cats.

The leopard’s spotted coat provides excellent camouflage and leopards can appear to vanish before your eyes. This makes them difficult to spot in the wild.

One place to try is in Botswana’s Okavango Delta where the streams of the Okavango River spread across the plans of the Kalahari. This area has been called “Africa’s Eden” and is teeming with leopards and other wildlife.

s@ilor

7) Snow Leopards, Pakistan

Snow leopards are rare and beautiful big cats located in the mountains of Central Asia.

Known for their graceful ability to leap great distances, snow leopards have wide paws that function like snowshoes.

Their thick gray fur makes them a target for poachers who can command a high price for pelts and sell their organs for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

Because of this, Snow leopard populations are decreasing dramatically.  To see these mystical animals in the wild, spend some time in Pakistan’s Hindu Kush Valley, where trekkers have been known to spot them.

somedirection

8) Cheetahs, Namibia

Cheetahs are super-animals: they can go from 0-60 miles (96km) per hour in 3 seconds, they have razor-sharp eyesight, and they only need to drink once every four days!

The world’s fastest land animal is found mostly in Africa and southwestern Asia.

The best way to see a cheetah is to visit one of the foundations working to combat poaching and conserve cheetah populations, like the Cheetah Conservation Fund located 50 km from Otjiwarongo, Namibia.

Martin_Heigan

9) Cougars, US West Coast

Also known as mountain lions, cougars are the largest members of the cat family in North America.

Nocturnal animals, cougars are masters of staying hidden while hunting and are always on the move.

Cougars can be seen in the wild in many places, but cougar tracking is especially popular on the west coast of the United States in California, Oregon and Washington.

Tom Gill

10) Ligers, Miami, Florida

The largest known cat in the world is actually a human invention, a cross between a male lion and a female tiger.

Ligers generally have the coloring of a lion with the striped patter of a tiger, with variations depending on the coloring of the parents.

Since lion and tiger habitats do not overlap in the wild, ligers only exist in captivity.

The world’s largest cat, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is a liger named Hercules who resides at the Jungle Island theme park in Miami, Florida.

TheGoogly

Have you seen any of these amazing cats in the wild? Where do you think is best place for a big cat sighting?  We want to hear about it!

If you liked this you might also like: 6 Most Unusual Sea Creatures in the World.

Main image: African lion by Jaamzp

 

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14 comments… read them below or Add a Comment

Liudmila

Adore the Cats and say always they are the top of the Creation. If I could, I would visit all the places you mentioned here, specially because there are often tracing tours. But… Well, from one side it’s interesting for us but from the other point of view: do the tourists not disturb the wild life? I’ve heard, it’s the great problem in many places, you know.
Yes, I understand, if the tourist will not come in such places, the population will probably kill off all that cats…

Vera Marie Badertscher

Isn’t it too bad that these beautiful, cuddly-looking creatures would be happy to tear off your head?

In Arizona we have wildcats and mountain lions. I see wildcats in my Tucson neighborhood from time to time, and I once had an encounter with 3 mountain lions on a hiking trail in a canyon. Fortunately they were sleepy and not interested in pursuing me.

Charles McCool

The liger is cool! I always like to see pictures of the elusive Florida panther. My grandmother lived in the Everglades for 25 years and never saw one in the wild. Amazing.

Cailin

hahaha OMG that poor Liger! I thought they only exsited in Napolean Dynamites head! haha That made me think of a Zonky that we have in a Zoo here, thats right half Zebra half Donkey so unfortunate haha
There are cougars and mountain lions here in Canada too, one actually made its home under my cottage for the winter a few years ago, I wouldn’t want to cross any of their paths! but at the same time I say that I wouldn’t mind some kind of large cat as a pet…. :)

Madhu Nair

Bandhavgarh National Park is a great place to spot the Tiger.
http://10yearitch.com/http:/10yearitch.com/travel/photo-post-safari-day-2-bandhavgarh-mp/

Sasan Gir is running low on the Lion population …
But we were lucky to spot one on our visit.
http://10yearitch.com/http:/10yearitch.com/travel/photo-post-sasan-gir-gujarat/

Aditi

Agree to the above comment – Bandhavgarh and Kanha are emerging as great places in India to spot tigers…

mwajuma

huh ? Masai Mara isn’t the best place to search for African Lions !!

It is infact Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania !

cute animals

Wow, those are some beautiful cats, thanks for sharing!

Ralph

Great list but would have liked to see Black Panthers included. They’ve got to be the coolest big cat.

Ashley Beolens

Interesting blog, and some nice pics.

John Uscian

Don’t forget the wild Asian lions of Sasan-Gir Park in Gujarat, India! In just four days I saw 12 of them in 2011. Some of these sightings were within 30 feet and lasted for more than 20 minutes as the lions (four in one case) interacted with one another. There are currently 400+ Asian lions living in the wild in India.

John Uscian

Here are my youtube videos of the lions of Sasan-Gir Park (Gujarat, India, 2011) and the tigers of Bandhavgarh and Kanha Parks (Madhya Pradesh, India, 2010):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0yLrUWBG1c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUco_B8BeQQ

By the way, Mara, thanks for the great big cat information on this website.

zubair beigh

yea the list is gud but the 2 main big cats are absent . i mean panther and puma, they are too powerful and stunning. the top most king of this list be siberian tiger.

Masai Mara game reserve

Game viewing at the Masai Mara is always something special. Lions hunt in packs and as what lions do, create strategies against their prey. This is a great compilation!

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