SIBERIA – Adorable felines like these are a rare sight on film, and conservationists are expressing concerns that these endangered creatures might not be available for photo opportunities in the near future.
These felines are simply irresistible with their voluminous fur and captivating eyes, tempting you to embrace them with open arms. However, don’t be fooled by their charm as they are definitely not domesticated.
A group of animal protection volunteers in Siberia was able to capture some rare images of the endangered Pallas’s cats. These furry creatures are native to the less populated areas of southern Siberia, as well as Central Asia and China, and are known for their solitary and elusive nature, which makes them difficult to spot.
According to The Siberian Times, these images are very unique since the cats are quite private and don’t prefer to be seen. In the Altai Nature Reserve located in the southern mountainous region of Siberia, a cat was captured by an animal camera trap as it observed the surroundings from a very close distance.
The small-pawed feline that lives in caves has been added to the Red Book of the Russian Federation and the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Currently, it is classified as “near threatened”. WWF coordinator on biological development, Vladimir Krever, argues that the penalties imposed on poachers are inadequate.
While there are no precise figures on the prevalence of manual poaching, it is still a well-known issue. Due to its elusive nature and scattered habitat, the exact population size of the Pallas cat, also called the Manul cat, remains unknown. This species has ancestral ties to the leopard dating back millions of years, but despite its impressive appearance, it is deceptively small.
Did you know that the Pallas’s cat, despite being similar in size to your average housecat, boasts an impressive 9,000 hairs per square centimeter? Its fur can even grow up to 7 cm long and provides protection against the harsh Siberian climate. This unique feline was named after German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who originally described it as Felis manul way back in 1776.