Pallas's cat

Otocolobus manul

Pallas's cat , also called the manul, is a small wild cat having a broad but patchy distribution in the grasslands and montane steppe of Central Asia. The species is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline, and hunting, and has therefore been classified as ''Near Threatened'' by IUCN since 2002.

Pallas’s cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the species in 1776 under the binomial ''Felis manul''.
Pallas's cat Kalmand, Yazd, Iran
(Photographed in Captivity Moments before Released into Wild)
 Felis manul,Geotagged,Iran,Otocolobus manul,Pallass cat

Appearance

Pallas's cat is about the size of a domestic cat, its body is 46 to 65 cm long and its tail is 21 to 31 cm long. It weighs 2.5 to 4.5 kg . The combination of its stocky posture and long, dense fur makes it appear stout and plush. Its fur is ochre with dark vertical bars on the torso and forelegs. The winter coat is greyer and less patterned than the summer coat. There are clear black rings on the tail and dark spots on the forehead. The cheeks are white with narrow black stripes running from the corners of the eyes. The chin and throat are also white, merging into the greyish, silky fur of the underparts. Concentric white and black rims around the eyes accentuate their rounded shape. The legs are proportionately shorter than those of other cats, the ears are set very low and wide apart, and it has unusually short claws. The face is shortened compared with other cats, giving it a flattened face. The pupils are circular. The shorter jaw has fewer teeth than is usual among felids, with the first pair of upper premolars being absent.
the longing look This was taken at a wildlife heritage park she was beautiful but her species escapes my memory... Otocolobus manul,Pallass cat

Naming

Three subspecies are recognized:
⤷  ''O. m. manul'' — inhabits the northern part of the range: from Jida River south of Lake Baikal to eastern Siberia;
⤷  ''O. m. nigripecta'' — inhabits Tibet and Indian Kashmir;
⤷  ''O. m. ferruginea'' — inhabits the south-western part of the range: the mountain ridge of Missanev, Kopet-Dag Mountains, Transcaspia, south-western Turkestan, northern Iran, Baluchistan and Afghanistan.

Distribution

Pallas's cats are native to the steppe regions of Central Asia, where they inhabit elevations of up to 5,050 m in the Tibetan Plateau. They inhabit Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kashmir, and occur across much of western China. They are also found in the Transbaikal regions of Russia, and less frequently in the Altai, Tyva, and Buryatia Republics. In 1997, they were reported for the first time as being present in the eastern Sayan Mountains.

Until the early 1970s, only two Pallas's cats were recorded in the Transcaucasus, both encountered near the Araks River in southeastern Armenia, but no records existed from Azerbaijan.
Populations in the Caspian Sea region, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are thought to be declining and becoming increasingly isolated.

In 2008, an individual was camera-trapped in Iran's Khojir National Park for the first time. In 2012, Pallas' cats were recorded by camera traps in Bhutan's Wangchuck Centennial Park. This is the first report of Pallas' cat occurring in the Eastern Himalayas.

In December 2012 and December 2013, Pallas' cats were recorded for the first time in Nepal, viz in the Annapurna Conservation Area above 4,200 m altitude.Three subspecies are recognized:
⤷  ''O. m. manul'' — inhabits the northern part of the range: from Jida River south of Lake Baikal to eastern Siberia;
⤷  ''O. m. nigripecta'' — inhabits Tibet and Indian Kashmir;
⤷  ''O. m. ferruginea'' — inhabits the south-western part of the range: the mountain ridge of Missanev, Kopet-Dag Mountains, Transcaspia, south-western Turkestan, northern Iran, Baluchistan and Afghanistan.

Status

''Otocolobus manul'' is listed in CITES Appendix II. Hunting of this felid is prohibited in all range countries except Mongolia, where it has no legal protection despite being classified as Near Threatened in the country. Since 2009, the felid is legally protected in Afghanistan, banning all hunting and trade in its parts within the country.

Behavior

Pallas's cats are solitary. Both males and females scent mark their territory. They spend the day in caves, rock crevices, or marmot burrows, and emerge in the late afternoon to begin hunting. They are not fast runners, and hunt primarily by ambush or stalking, using low vegetation and rocky terrain for cover. They feed largely on diurnally active prey species such as gerbils, pikas, voles and chukar partridges, and sometimes catch young marmots.

Habitat

Pallas's cats are native to the steppe regions of Central Asia, where they inhabit elevations of up to 5,050 m in the Tibetan Plateau. They inhabit Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kashmir, and occur across much of western China. They are also found in the Transbaikal regions of Russia, and less frequently in the Altai, Tyva, and Buryatia Republics. In 1997, they were reported for the first time as being present in the eastern Sayan Mountains.

Until the early 1970s, only two Pallas's cats were recorded in the Transcaucasus, both encountered near the Araks River in southeastern Armenia, but no records existed from Azerbaijan.
Populations in the Caspian Sea region, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are thought to be declining and becoming increasingly isolated.

In 2008, an individual was camera-trapped in Iran's Khojir National Park for the first time. In 2012, Pallas' cats were recorded by camera traps in Bhutan's Wangchuck Centennial Park. This is the first report of Pallas' cat occurring in the Eastern Himalayas.

In December 2012 and December 2013, Pallas' cats were recorded for the first time in Nepal, viz in the Annapurna Conservation Area above 4,200 m altitude.
Pallas's cats are solitary. Both males and females scent mark their territory. They spend the day in caves, rock crevices, or marmot burrows, and emerge in the late afternoon to begin hunting. They are not fast runners, and hunt primarily by ambush or stalking, using low vegetation and rocky terrain for cover. They feed largely on diurnally active prey species such as gerbils, pikas, voles and chukar partridges, and sometimes catch young marmots.

Reproduction

The breeding season is relatively short due to the extreme climate in the cat's native range. Oestrus lasts between 26 and 42 hours, which is also shorter than in many other felids. Pallas's cats give birth to a litter of around two to six kittens after a gestation period of 66 to 75 days, typically in April or May. Such large litters may compensate for a high rate of infant mortality in the harsh environment. The young are born in sheltered dens, lined with dried vegetation, feathers, and fur. The kittens weigh around 90 g at birth, and have a thick coat of fuzzy fur, which is replaced by the adult coat after around two months. They are able to begin hunting at four months, and reach adult size at six months. Pallas's cats have been reported to live up to 11 years in captivity.

Predators

The manul has long been hunted for its fur in relatively large numbers in China, Mongolia, and Russia, although international trade in manul pelts has largely ceased since the late 1980s. About 1,000 hunters of Pallas's cats are in Mongolia, with a mean estimated harvest of two cats per year. They are also shot because they can be mistaken for marmots, which are commonly hunted, and trapped incidentally in leghold traps set for wolves and foxes and snares set for marmots and hares. Their fat and organs are used as medicine in Mongolia and Russia, and they are killed by domestic dogs. While Mongolia has not recorded any trophy exports, skin exports have grown since 2000, with 143 reported exported in 2007.

Evolution

Pallas's cat was initially placed in the genus ''Felis''. In 1858, the Russian explorer and naturalist Nikolai Severtzov proposed the name ''Otocolobus'' for the species.Severtzow, M. N. . . Revue et Magasin de Zoologie Pure et Appliquée 2e Série, T. X Séptembre 1858: 386. The zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock recognized the taxonomic classification of ''Otocolobus'' in 1907, described several skulls in detail, and considered the manul being an aberrant form of ''Felis''.

Following genetic studies, the monotypic genus ''Otocolobus'' has been proposed to be placed with the genera ''Felis'' and ''Prionailurus'' in the tribe ''Felini'', because of a close phylogenetic relationship. ''Otocolobus manul'' is estimated to have diverged from a leopard cat ancestor about 5.19 million years ago.

References:

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Status: Near threatened | Trend: Down
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyFelidae
GenusOtocolobus
SpeciesO. manul
Photographed in
United Kingdom
Iran