RUSSIA – The 32 square kilometre site at Sailyugemsky Nature Park in Altai Mountains is known as a key step in protecting the secretive animal which is well 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 rarely seen and famous for their reclusive and solitary lives.
A recent international conference, which took place 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.
The park – which hosted the conference with representatives from Russia, the US, the UK, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Mongolia and Ukraine – has a total of 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 neighboring Mongolia it is often hunted on with dogs for fur. Researchers firmly believe that this can lead to complete extinction of the Pallas cat population in border areas.
Poachers are also a terrible threat to the cat in Russia. Data on the wildcats is incomplete but it is known they live in TransBaikal region and in the republics of Tuva and Altai.
Denis Malikov, who is deputy director of Sailyugemsky Park stated: ‘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.’
The park will be a global platform for the study of the Pallas’ cat, he explained. Researcher Alexey Kuzhlekov stated: ‘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‘The latest data on this species is outdated.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.”
Video of Pallas Cats Kittens in Mongolia. Video by Dr Bariushaa Munkhtsog: