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(English) Rare Pllas’s cat spotted in Annapurna region

Pallas's cat at the Zurich zoo.
Pallas’s cat at the Zurich zoo.

KATHMANDU, Nepal–A research team of the Annapurna Area Conservation Project spotted Pllas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), an endangered species, while it was conducting study on snow leopard in upper Manang area, nearly 150 kilometer south west of the capital Kathmandu.

Environmentalists said this is the first time that the rare cat has been spotted in the country. A three member team headed by Snow Leopard Conservancy Project Coordinator Bikram Shrestha spotted the new animal while carrying out research on snow leopard.

The team made public the findings via press conference, Wednesday at ACAP’s headquarters.

The team’s cameras installed in the area recorded as many as 14 images of the wild cat. The cameras were set at an altitude of 4,200 metres and 4,600 metres in 2012 and 2013

First spotted in Iran’s Khojir National Park in 2008, Pallas’s cat is also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajakistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, among other countries. Its body is 46 to 65 cm (18 to 26 in) long and its tail is 21 to 31 cm.

Also called the manul, it is a small wild cat having a broad but erratic distribution in the grasslands and montane field of Central Asia.  The species has been classified as near threatened by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2002.

It leaves in peaceful place in the mountain and both males and female odor mark their territory. They spend the day in caves, rock crevices, and emerge in the late afternoon for hunting Gerbils, Pikas, Voles spiders and insects found in the mountainous region.

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