The Small Cat Action Fund

The Small Cat Action Fund (SCAF) is a grants program established by Panthera with the oversight of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. The fund is intended to support in situ conservation and research activities on the many small cat species.

Species and Location

The SCAF supports work on the “small cats,” namely all species of the family Felidae excluding the genera Panthera, Acinonyx and the puma (Puma concolor). The following species are eligible for SCAF:

Caracal - Caracal caracal
Bay cat - Catopuma badia
Asian golden cat - Catopuma temminckii
Jungle cat - Felis chaus
Sand cat - Felis margarita
Black-footed cat - Felis nigripes
Wild cat - Felis silvestris
Jaguarundi - Herpailurus yaguarondi
Ocelot - Leopardus pardalis
Oncilla - Leopardus tigrinus
Margay - Leopardus wiedii
Serval - Leptailurus serval
Canada lynx - Lynx canadensis
Eurasian lynx - Lynx lynx
Iberian lynx - Lynx pardinus
Bobcat - Lynx rufus
Sunda clouded leopard - Neofelis diardi
Mainland clouded leopard - Neofelis nebulosa
Pampas cat - Leopardus colocola
Geoffroy’s cat - Leopardus geoffroyi
Guina - Leopardus guigna
Andean mountain cat - Leopardus jacobita
Pallas’s cat - Otocolobus manul
Leopard cat - Prionailurus bengalensis
Flat-headed cat - Prionailurus planiceps
Rusty-spotted cat - Prionailurus rubiginosus
Fishing cat - Prionailurus viverrinus
African golden cat - Caracal aurata
Marbled cat - Pardofelis marmorata
Southern tigrina - Leopardus guttulus

Applicants whose proposed work includes any of the seven largest cat species along with one or more of the small cats should apply to the Kaplan Graduate Awards if they are eligible graduate students. If the project does not explicitly include those seven species (even if they occur in the area), the application should be made to the Small Cat Action Fund. There are no restrictions on location other than the presence of the target species in the wild.

Budget Guidelines

The amount of funding awarded varies, up to a maximum of $15,000 per year. Preference will be given to requests specifically for field conservation and research activities, including equipment, transportation, and local salaries. Panthera will consider salaries, per diems, and stipends for local field personnel only; we will not fund salaries for core administrative and management personnel. Panthera will not consider large requests for expensive first world university tuition, except in exceptional cases where the applicants are nationals from developing countries and provide convincing rationales that the institutions will provide critical graduate training that is not available in their home country. Panthera does not support conferences, travel to scientific meetings, legal actions, overhead costs, academic exchanges or captive breeding.

Evaluation Criteria

Letters of Inquiry and applications are reviewed by Panthera staff and Panthera’s Scientific Council as well as the joint chairs of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. Projects are evaluated in terms of the: 

  • Relevance to wild cat conservation 
  • Scientific merit and value

How to Apply

The application process opens with a call for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) between 15 February and 15 March. The application portal is only open between these dates. The LOI asks for the title and location of the proposed project, the target species, the project budget and the amount requested from Panthera, and an abstract of the project. Qualified applicants who submit LOIs for projects that appear to be a good fit for the program will be asked to submit a full application and supporting documents. Both LOIs and applications must be submitted through Panthera’s grant management system, Foundant. Applicants are only permitted to apply to one Panthera grant program per intake round. If you are seeking renewal for a previous grant, please contact us directly at

Apply Now