Many cat species are difficult to observe directly, so collecting adequate data to inform conservation research and monitoring questions can be difficult. Most cat species persist in low densities, require large tracts of habitat for persistence and are capable of and/or require long distance movements for dispersal. Many also cope with increasingly fragmented landscapes that likely disrupt various demographic processes important for population persistence. While camera traps have greatly aided in addressing some of the challenges of collecting data on these elusive animals, molecular techniques can provide the same and, in some cases, superior information from that of camera images.
The Conservation Genetics Program is a joint venture between Panthera and the National Genomics Center to advance the development and use of molecular approaches in cat conservation.