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Pallas's cats to get their own 'palace' in Siberian mountains 

By Olga Gertcyk
04 October 2016

The world's fluffiest feline get a first-in-the-world scientific zone where the endangered wildcats will be protected and studied.

Native to remote regions of southern Siberia, as well as Central Asia and China, Pallas's cats are seldom seen, and known for their reclusive and solitary lives. Picture: Sailyugemsky Nature Park

The 32 square kilometre site at Sailyugemsky Nature Park in Altai Mountains is seen as a key step in protecting the secretive animal which are known for their expressive faces and adorable looks - although they are far from tame. 

Native to remote regions of southern Siberia, as well as Central Asia and China, they are seldom seen, and known for their reclusive and solitary lives. 

A recent international conference in Novosibirsk on the Pallas's cat agreed on measures to protect the rare species, and the park's enhanced role in monitoring and observing. 

Sailyugem


Observations

The 32 square kilometre site at Sailyugemsky Nature Park in Altai Mountains is seen as a key step in protecting the secretive animal. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Sailyugemsky Nature Park

The park - which hosted the conference with representatives from Russia, the US, the UK, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Mongolia and Ukraine - has 15 photo traps geared to watching these animals, and infrastructure which will be used to help their survival. 

The wildcat is in the Russian Red Book, although in neighbouring Mongolia it is hunted on with dogs for fur. Researchers believe that this can lead to complete extinction of the Pallas cat population in border areas. 

Photo traps


Photo traps


Photo traps

'The Pallas' cat is unfairly forgotten in the world although the animal is on the edge of extinction.' Picture: Sailyugemsky Nature Park

Poachers are also a direct threat to the cat in Russia. Data on the wildcats is incomplete but it is known they live in TransBaikal region, and the republics of Tuva and Altai. 

Denis Malikov, deputy director of Sailyugemsky Park said: 'The Pallas' cat is unfairly forgotten in the world although the animal is on the edge of extinction. There are only a handful of researchers studying it in Russia.'

Checking the hole


Putting the photo trap

The park has 15 photo traps geared to watching these animals, and infrastructure which will be used to help their survival. Picture: Sailyugemsky Nature Park

The park is to become a global platform for study of the Pallas' cat, he said. Researcher Alexey Kuzhlekov said: 'We need to estimate the number of Pallas's cats, and study the habitat area. 

'The latest data on this species is outdated. It hasn't been updated over the last 3 or 4 decades. We created a database that is also available online. Information about every encounter with the rare cat is uploaded there.'

World's fluffiest, shyest, most expressive (and worryingly endangered) cat appears in wild photo-shoot.


World's fluffiest, shyest, most expressive (and worryingly endangered) cat appears in wild photo-shoot.


Pallas cat

The pictures taken during a voluntary expedition to the Altai Republic, organised by the Altai Nature Reserve, WWF and Argali Regional Fund. Pictures: Altai Biosphere Reserve

First estimates of the feline population in Altai will be released in November. 

Dr Jim Sanderson, director of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, said: 'Our peers from Russia are doing a great job monitoring felines. All the world knows that this is where the snow leopard lives and that the park is responsible for its protection. The Pallas's cat also needs protection.'

Pallas's cats kittens in Mongolia. Video: Dr Bariushaa Munkhtsog

Comments (12)

Well, James from UK, YOU look at them and tell me you don't feel like doing the same. Stay safe and live long and prosper, Manul/Pallas Cats.
jmuhj, jmuhjacat@att.net
10/10/2016 07:42
5
0
I guess the smoochy sounds who ever filmed this made were entirely unavoidable :)
James, United Kingdom
08/10/2016 16:23
6
0
as much as the park might need money, do not let anyone go even remotely near the cats! poachers will follow, the pelts will fetch a premium price. and that will be the end of them.
Benedikt, Moscow
07/10/2016 10:41
12
0
Wonderful work so please control the poaching. It beggars belief that anyone could even dream of hurting such a beautiful animal. Good luck, I wish you all well. Thank you.
Edgar Roethenbaugh, United Kingdom
06/10/2016 17:33
10
0
Gorgeous.....so glad they are now being protected
...
lorainne, south africa
06/10/2016 13:46
9
0
I'd love to volunteer to help research and protect these beautiful cats! How would I go about that?
Janine Stubblefield , Louisville, Ky. USA
06/10/2016 07:50
10
0
It would be a terrible loss if these endangered cats are not protected and able to reestablish their population. So many wild cat populations are down to dangerously sad numbers. I've read about the Pallas cats and they deserve a fighting chance to exist as much as people do. Hopefully nobody gets the bright idea to try to domesticate them as it appears even the Pallas kittens his and growl at humans. Thank you for this insightful article.
Janet Macaione, Cleveland Ohio USA
06/10/2016 06:57
9
0
As much as I adored the pictures and videos, I wish they had not been published. This article will raise the demand for illegal pelts, double or triple the price of a pelt, encourage poachers and hguide poachers to hunting grounds. Publishing was stupid at best, greedy at worst.
Kathleen Kashay, Cortland, Ohio, USA
06/10/2016 06:56
11
9
Conservation of these cats is a must. Harsh conditions plus humans hunting them... Now they will be studied and protected from poachers.
Grant Hibbs, Delta B.C.
06/10/2016 05:38
11
0
Awww they are so cute. Worthwhile species to protect.
Tammy, USA
06/10/2016 05:20
8
0
What gorgeous animals... I pray they survive humans!!! Extinction is forever. :(
Charlene, USA
06/10/2016 03:46
8
0
Really good news.
I still hope to see them in real life when we organize our trips to the Sailugem park.
Jaap van der kooij, The Netherlands
04/10/2016 16:06
14
0
1

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