A project which is aimed at improving the conservation status of one of the world’s rarest and least known wild cats has secured key funding.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is working along with the Snow Leopard Trust and Sweden’s Nordens Ark Zoo on the Pallas’s cat initiative.
Pallas’s cats are found in quickly decreasing numbers in Iran, Mongolia and China.
The groups had thought the chances of securing £100,000, (about $150k), funding were slight because the animals are not well-known.
However, the Segre Foundation, which supports nature projects, has recently awarded the grant.
RZSS’ David Barclay, who is directly involved in the Pallas’s cat conservation effort, confirmed there had been concerns the cats did not have a high enough profile to attract major funding.
The Scottish society manages Edinburgh Zoo and has Pallas’s cats within its collection at its Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig near Aviemore.
It signed an agreement with the other two organizations just last year to commit to three years’ work to better conserve, and raise the profile of, the animals.
Pallas cats are also called Manul, steppe and rock wildcat.
They are currently classed as “near-threatened”, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The break up of their habitats are just one of the biggest threats to the species.