This is a relatively small wild cat that is found in central and Southern America, living in primary evergreen and deciduous forests. Until the 1990s they were illegally hunted for the wildlife trade, causing a significant decrease in the wild population. Sine 2008 they have been listed as near concern due to declining population, thought to be caused by habitat loss. It is classed as near threatened -one up from least concerned, but one down from Vulnerable.
Currently found from the Northern points of Mexico (it has not been seen in the USA since 1855 – indeed the only USA record comes from this time,, however fossils show it once ranged through Southern Texas, and may even have roamed as through Georgia Florida and South Carolina – or at least an animal very similar) through central America to Brazil and Paraguay and even reaching as far south as Uruguay and Argentina.
It is a skilled climber, and is confident enough in the tree-tops to chase monkeys and birds for food. Its ankles are flexible enough to turn 180 to make it easier coming back down the tree. It is usually solitary, but lives in home ranges (meaning they are not territorial and home ranges will overlap) that cover 11-16 square km (4.2-6.2 square miles)
There are currently 3 recognized subspecies, these are in turn found South of the Amazon, North of the Amazon and in Central America.