“What’s not to like about these cats?” GWC Program Manager of Wild Cat Conservation Jim Sanderson asks of the Pallas’ Cat. “And look at that habitat,” he adds, looking at rare footage of the felines from Felid TAG.
Jim is headed to Russia for a Pallas’ Cat meeting in Novosibirsk, Russia (in Siberia) on Sept. 12. He’ll also set out with local partners to try to camera trap the species in places researchers haven’t yet tried to see the elusive cat.
Pallas’ Cats inhabit the vast Asian Steppe and span about 10 time zones. They are found in Nepal, where Snow Leopards occur, and in the high cold mountains of Iran, all the way to China. Jim has seen them on the vast Tibetan Plateau, hiding among rocks. The IUCN Red List classifies Pallas’ Cats as Near Threatened, primarily as the result of the loss of quality habitat. Because Pallas’ Cats are also strikingly beautiful and easy to catch in open grasslands, pastoralists hunt them for their fur, which they make into winter coats, hats and gloves.
Also known as Manul, Pallas’ Cats were first described in 1776 by naturalist Peter Simon Pallas. Pallas embarked on numerous long expeditions in Russia and described and illustrated more than 1,200 new species of animals, birds and plants. He followed his original brief description of the Pallas’ Cat with a 15-page missive in Latin in 1781, complete with the first illustration of the cat.
Check this space in late September/early October for updates from Jim’s Russia trip.
(Photo by Terry Whittaker, via Arkive)