The Pallas’s cat is a small-sized wild cat species that lives in the remote steppes and mountains of Central Asia. Excessive hunting of the cats that are coveted for their thick, lush, fur as well the loss of habitat has greatly reduced their numbers in the wild. As a result, the beautiful animals have been on IUCN’s near-threatened list of species since 2002. It is, therefore, no wonder that the recent sighting of the elusive felines in the mountains of Mongolia is causing such joy among conservationists and cat lovers worldwide.
The footage, released on August 31, was captured by remote sensor research cameras placed in Mongolia’s Zoolon Mountains by the newly formed Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA). Launched earlier this year, PICA aims to learn more about these mysterious cats and find ways to save them before it is too late. The video shows an adult cat stalking for prey in broad daylight and a night shot featuring three Pallas’ cubs peering curiously at the camera.
Also called manuls, the wild cats are about the same size as domestic felines. However, they appear to be bigger due to their stocky build and long, thick, fur. The flat-faced animals also have very unusual pupils that contract into small circles, rather than the typical vertical slits seen on other cats. Cute as they are, Pallas’s cats do not make good house pets. Besides being hard to domesticate, the felines also have a very weak immune system. Hence, while they live long and healthy lives in the wild where there are few viruses, the cats are very susceptible to diseases if reared in captivity, which is why they are rarely seen in zoos.
Resources: wikipedia.org, snowleopard.org