Pallas’s is a small sized wild cat. This small cat is known for their famous appearance with flat round face, stocky build body and long and thick fur. Pallas’s cat is known as manul cat. German zoologist Peter Pallas’s first discovered this cat in 1776.
The existence of this cat in the wild is under threat due to various reasons. Various plans have been adopted internationally and locally to conserve this cat. Today’s post will discuss the Pallas’s cat’s conservation status, population, distribution, and threats.
Pallas’s cat Conservation Status
Pallas’s cat is listed in Appendix II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Which means that this species is not currently under threat of extinction, but if its trade and killing are not strictly controlled, it will soon be on the threatened list.
According to the IUCN Red List published in 2020, the palace cat is listed as Least Concern (LC). This is because of their spread over a wide area, and their home range is also very large (4-8 pallas’s cat per 100 square kilometers). At the same time, their habitat changes based on the presence of their main prey, Pika, and Vole. A decrease in Pika and Vole numbers in an area also decreases the presence of Pallas’s cat in that area. As a result, it is almost impossible to verify their exact numbers. However, they have been included in the list of the least concerned by analyzing the data researched at different times in different countries.
However, their number is gradually decreasing in different countries, due to which this species is included in different categories in the national red list of different countries. For example, the Pallas’s cat is listed as Near Threatened (NT) Species on the national red list of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. They also listed as an Endangered species on the national red list of China also listed as an extinct species on the national red list of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Pallas’s cats listed as a Near Threatened (NT) species since 2006, according to the national red list in Mongolia. In Turkmenistan national red list pallas’s cats are listed as a Critically Endargered species (CE).
Pallas’s Cats Conservation Policy
Hunting of Pallas’s cats is now legally prohibited in all countries of the range, except Mongolia, as part of conservation efforts. Pallas’s cats are legally protected under the laws of Afghanistan. Since 2009, Pallas’s cats hunting and trade of their body parts have been completely banned in Afghanistan.
Illegal hunting and international trade in Pallas’s cat limbs has been banned since the 1980s. Hunting is prohibited in the countries of the Pallas’s cats home range, but hunting is permitted only in Mongolia. Pallas’s cats can be hunted in China, subject to obtaining a special government license.
The exact extent of illegal hunting of Pallas’s cats is not known. If 1,000 legal hunters across Mongolia hunt an average of two Pallas’s cats each year, the number rises to over 2,000 at the end of the year. There is no accurate data for illegal hunting, but no doubt that it will be much higher.
Pallas’s Cat Working Group (PCWG) was formed in 2012 with around 30 international members, including local representatives from Pallas’s cat home range, to conserve the Pallas’s cat. The main aim of PCWG to ensure the existence of wild Pallas’s cats in the natural environment.
Mainly to help individuals and institutions doing research on Pallas’s cats at the local level. For that purpose collecting information and data from experts involved in the study and conservation of Pallas’s cat, collecting information from local level, exchanging experience, receiving and giving advice, conducting campaign and awareness activities at local level.
Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance abbreviated as PICA was formed in 2016 by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Nordens Ark Zoo in Sweden and the Snow Leopard Trust with the aim of surveying Pallas’s cat, raising awareness of its basic ecology and creating a conservation action plan.
The exact number of Pallas’s cats is unknown. Because they are spread over many countries in the Asian continent and at the same time their home range is also huge. Since their home range has changed, it is impossible to calculate their exact number. However, initiatives have been taken to count their number in different countries at different times. Currently, the number of Pallas’s cats in the wild is 49,000-98,000, According to the IUCN Red List published in 2020. It is an approximate number made on the basis of various facts and figures. In reality, the number may be more or less.
16 Pallas’s cats were kept at the Beijing Zoo between 1951 and 1979 in an effort to protect Pallas’s cats, although they lived less than three years. A captive breeding program for Pallas’s cats was started in 1984, but half of the kittens died within the first 30 days. Currently, there are 177 Pallas’s cats in captivity in 60 zoos in different countries of the world.
In 2011, a female Pallas’s artificially inseminated at the Cincinnati Zoo produced three kittens, one of which was stillborn.