SIBERIA – These cute cats aren’t often captured on camera, and experts are now saying the endangered animals might not be around for snaps for much longer.
With its fluffy hair and large, expressive eyes, these adorable cats look cute enough to cuddle – but beware, nevertheless, they are far from tame.
These rare images of endangered Pallas’s cats have recently been caught by animal protection volunteers in Siberia.
Native to the more remote regions of southern Siberia, as well as Central Asia and China, they are seldom seen, and known for their reclusive and solitary lives.
“They are secretive and do not like to be seen, making these images rather special,” reports The Siberian Times .
This cat was caught on camera just a mere whisker away from an animal camera trap as it surveyed the scene in the Altai Nature Reserve in mountainous southern Siberia.
The short-clawed, cave-dwelling cat is now 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 measures that are applied to poachers now are not strict enough”, claims 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 behavior of this species and the patchiness of its distribution.”
The Pallas cat, which is related millions of years ago to the leopard and also known as a Manul cat- looks bigger than it actually is.
In fact, the Pallas’s cat is no larger than you domestic cat yet has 9,000 hairs per square centimeter.
Its hair can reach up to a length of 7 cm, and acts as protection against the Siberian cold.
The Pallas’s cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat back in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul.