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Serval (Leptailurus serval) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Relatively abundant and widespread in Africa (Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)

  • No global population estimates

Population north of Sahara

  • Regionally Critically Endangered (from Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)
    • <250 mature individuals in a single isolated population

Conservation Status

IUCN Status

  • Least Concern (2014 assessment) (Thiel 2015)
    • Population trend is stable
  • Historical listing
    • 2002 - Least Concern
    • 1996 - Lower Risk/Least Concern

CITES Status

U.S. Endangered Species Act (from Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)

  • Barbary serval (subspecies) listed
    • Found only in southern Algeria

Management actions (from Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)

  • Servals are not protected over much of its range
  • Hunting prohibited in some areas
    • Algeria, Botswana, Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and the Cape Province of South Africa
  • A key area for conservation efforts
    • Odzala National Park (Congo Republic) where its serval population is the only protected one in Gabon-Congo savanna region

Threats to Survival

Primary threats

  • Wetland habitat loss and degradation (Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)

Secondary threats (from Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008)

  • Degradation of grasslands
    • Driven by annual burning followed by overgrazing
  • Domestic trade of serval pelts
    • Often for tourists
      • Serval skins may be sold as young leopard (Panthera pardus) or cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
      • In Nigeria, pelts are commonly traded; among the most often seen animal pelts
    • Ceremonial usage and use in traditional medicine is declining (Breitenmoser-Wursten et al 2008; Nowell & Jackson 1996)
  • Loss of native prey species
    • Driven by habitat alteration
  • Persecuted by humans
    • Targeted in rural areas for supposed ability to kill small livestock (e.g. goats, sheep, and poultry)

Page Citations

Breitenmoser-Wursten et al (2008)
ZIMS (2008)
Nowell & Jackson (1996)
Sunquist & Sunquist (2002)

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