Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul)

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Pallas's cat or Manul
Pallas's cat or Manul

The Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul), also known as the manul, is a small wild cat with long and dense light grey fur, and rounded ears set low on the sides of the head. Its head-and-body length ranges from 46 to 65 cm (18 to 26 in) with a 21 to 31 cm (8.3 to 12.2 in) long bushy tail. It is well camouflaged and adapted to the cold continental climate in its native range, which receives little rainfall and experiences a wide range of temperatures.

The Pallas's cat was first described in 1776 by Peter Simon Pallas, who observed it in the vicinity of Lake Baikal. Since then, it has been recorded across a large region in Central Asia, albeit in widely spaced sites from the Caucasus, Iranian Plateau, Hindu Kush, parts of the Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau to the Altai-Sayan region and South Siberian Mountains. It inhabits rocky montane grasslands and shrublands, where the snow cover is below 15–20 cm (6–8 in). It finds shelter in rock crevices and burrows, and preys foremost on lagomorphs and rodents. The female gives birth to between two and six kittens in spring.

Due to its widespread range and assumed large population, the Pallas's cat has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2020. Some population units are threatened by poaching, prey base decline due to rodent control programs, and habitat fragmentation as a result of mining and infrastructure projects.

International Pallas's Cat Day

International Pallas's Cat Day is observed on April 27th every year to raise awareness about the conservation status and importance of Pallas's Cat. The day aims to educate people about the unique features of Pallas's Cat and its importance in maintaining the ecological balance of its natural habitat. It also serves as a reminder to protect these animals from various threats such as habitat loss, poaching, and illegal trade.

See also