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, Uncia, Neofelis, 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
  • Little spotted cat - Leopardus tigrinus
  • Margay - Leopardus wiedii
  • Serval - Leptailurus serval
  • Canada lynx - Lynx canadensis
  • Eurasian lynx - Lynx lynx
  • Spanish lynx - Lynx pardinus
  • Bobcat - Lynx rufus
  • Pampas cat - Oncifelis colocolo
  • Geoffroy’s cat - Oncifelis geoffroyi
  • Kodkod - Oncifelis guigna
  • Andean mountain cat - Oreailurus 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 - Profelis aurata
  • Marbled cat - Pardofelis marmorata

Applicants whose proposed work includes any of the eight largest cat species along with one or more of the small cats should apply to the Kaplan Graduate Awards (if they are graduate students and otherwise eligible). If the project does not explicitly include those eight 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 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
  • Captive breeding

Panthera will consider local salaries, per diems and stipends for local field personnel only. We will not fund salaries for core administrative and management personnel.

Genetic Analysis

In partnership with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Panthera has developed the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program. The program focuses on the molecular ecology of endangered felid populations and promotes, when preferable, the use of noninvasive sampling to understand genetic issues relevant to felid conservation. Applicants may apply to Panthera for genetic analysis funding, but the applicant must agree to process all genetic analysis through the AMNH. For details on the program, please visit the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program page.

Applicants may apply to Panthera for genetic analysis funding, however, the applicant must agree to process all genetic analysis through the AMNH.

Please note that we will ONLY undertake genetic analysis for projects that include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following priority species: tiger, lion, jaguar, snow leopard, cheetah and clouded leopard. For survey efforts, we are able to identify other felids in your samples (so please send all your samples to AMNH), but your project must include at least one of these priority species. Please note, if your project does not involve priority species, you can still apply for fieldwork that includes genetic analysis of other species. In this case, we will consider funding the fieldwork (for example, to undertake surveys, collect scat samples, etc.), but you will need to secure separate funding for the analysis itself outside the AMNH. In such a case, we ask that you provide the resulting genetic data to be archived at the AMNH under the normal terms of the data-sharing conditions we require in making grants.

Evaluation Criteria

The SCAF resides within, and is managed by Panthera. Proposals are reviewed by members of each contributing institution as well as the joint chairs of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. Projects are evaluated on the basis of:
- Relevance to wild cat conservation
- Scientific merit & value

How to Apply

There are two grant cycles each year. The application process opens with a call for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs). 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. Students 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 though Panthera’s grant management system, Foundant, accessed through the green button at the bottom of this page.

Please read all Application Instructions thoroughly before applying.

To work offline, please download the application instructions and the following templates:

Please note that these templates represent only a portion of the application. In order to be considered for funding, please submit a complete online application using the Click Here to Apply button.


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