Press release, September 1, 2016,
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Nordens Ark, Snow Leopard Trust
The footage was taken by a set of remote-sensor research cameras stationed in the Zoolon Mountains, in Mongolia’s Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. One sequence, shot during the night, shows three Pallas’ cat cubs curiously examining the camera, while another snippet features an adult cat in broad daylight looking for signs of other animals.
“This is the first footage of Pallas’s cat cubs taken in this part of Mongolia as far as we know and is a valuable discovery from our project partners Snow leopard Trust”, says David Barclay, Cat Conservation Officer at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).
The cameras are part of the newly launched international Pallas’s cat conservation project, PICA, founded by the RZSS, Nordens Ark, a Swedish breeding center and zoo Nordens Ark and US-based conservation organization Snow Leopard Trust that aims to gather more information on the Pallas’s cat, one of the world’s least-studied felines.
“We still don’t know much about the Pallas’s cat’s behavior, or even it’s true range”, says Emma Nygren, a conservation biologist at Nordens Ark who coordinates the research project. “If we’re hoping to conserve this mysterious cat, we need to first understand it, and we’re hoping this study will bring valuable new insights.”
The Snow Leopard Trust, who has been working in this part of Mongolia for more than a decade, is a technical and logistical partner in the project. “In partnership with our local partner, the Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation Mongolia and the park rangers of Gurvan Saikhan National Park, we’re surveying these mountains for snow leopards anyway. The Pallas’s cat shares the same habitat and is equally elusive, so it’s a logical extension of our work to also look at them”, says Gustaf Samelius, Assistant Director of Science at the Snow Leopard Trust.
The study, which was made possible by the generous support of Fondation Segré, will continue for at least three years.
About the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
- The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland was founded by visionary lawyer Thomas Gillespie in 1909 ‘to promote, facilitate and encourage the study of zoology and kindred subjects and to foster and develop amongst the people an interest in and knowledge of animal life’. The Society still exists to connect people with nature and safeguard species from extinction.
- Please visit here for information on all our conservation projects.
- RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park are owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), a registered charity, charity no SC004064.
- RZSS Edinburgh Zoo is set in 82 acres of sloping parkland, just a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh’s bustling city centre. In its 103-year history the Zoo has been home to many famous animal residents, more recently the UK’s only giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, and the UK’s only koalas.
- RZSS Highland Wildlife Park specialises in Scottish species, past and present, and other cold weather adapted animals from around the world.
- The Park, which covers over 200 acres and is located within the Cairngorms National Park, is home to two male polar bears and the only female polar bear in the UK.
- RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park are members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).
About Nordens Ark
Nordens Ark is a Swedish non-profit foundation working to protect endangered species through conservation breeding and reintroduction programs as well as through research, field conservations programs and education. Nordens Ark was founded in 1989 and focus on applied conservation actions in Sweden as well as abroad. The foundation works with a wide range of species from snow leopards and Pallas’s cats to Lesser White-fronted Geese and Lemur-leaf frogs.
About the Snow Leopard Trust
The Snow Leopard Trust, based in Seattle, USA, is a world leader in conservation of the endangered snow leopard, conducting pioneering research and partnering with communities as well as authorities in snow leopard habitat to protect the cat.
The Pallas’s cat photos are available for download here