The Snow Leopard Trust’s current research camera study of snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan has yielded a pleasant surprise: The first ever pictures of wild Pallas’ cats in Kyrgyzstan!
Kuban Jumabai Uulu, the Trust’s Kyrgyzstan country director, discovered the photos of the small wild feline while analyzing the data from one of the research cameras he had deployed in Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve. “These are the first images of wild Pallas’ cats I’ve seen from Kyrgyzstan”, he says. “We were looking for snow leopards, but this is just as exciting!”
The Pallas’ cat, also known as manul, is a small wild cat with a broad but patchy distribution in the grasslands and montane steppe of Central Asia. The species is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline, and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2002.