Concern is growing over poaching of the 'secretive' manul wild cat - also known as Pallas's Cat.
Manul's fur in the most fluffy and thick among the cat family with about 9,000 hairs per square cm. Picture: lifeglobe.net
Related millions of years ago to the leopard, this majestic cat is a native of Siberia though suffers from being less famous than some of its cousins.
'The measures that are applied to poachers now are not strict enough' warned Vladimir Krever, WWF coordinator on biological development.
'We don't have exact statistics on manual poaching but we know that it takes place.
'The exact number of the species is unknown because of the secretive behaviour of manul and the patchiness of its distribution.
'Daurovsky Reservation (in Chita region) is the only one in Russia that is located in the area of the manul's habitat - and where the animal is studied.'
Related millions of years ago to the leopard, this majestic cat is a native of Siberia. Picture: lifeglobe.net
The rare cat is listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature where it has the status of 'near threatened'. The cat is known for its awesome look.
Among poachers, though, it is famous for other qualities, notably its thick and warm fur.
The Pallas's cat's fur in the most fluffy and thick among the cat family with about 9,000 hairs per square centimetre, which can reach a length of 7 cm.
The negative impact of hunting and the decline of numbers of the wild cat led to an expression of concern by IUCN.
Manul hunting is forbidden in Russia - but sadly this does not stop hunters for this rare fur.
According to WWF Russia and the TRAFFIC programme, the sale of fur mittens made from manul fur is not unknown in Vladivostok.
Still on offer: mittens made from manul's fur. Picture: WWF Russia
In 2009 a store owner was fined 15,000 roubles ($500). This is one of the rare cases when manul poaching got to the court and a fine was imposed.
It is hoped the manul will be more protected by proposed new legislation. The wild cat has a broad but patchy distribution in the grasslands and steppes of Central Asia and southern Siberia.
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