The Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul), also called manul, is a small wild cat with a broad but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and montane steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline and hunting, and has therefore been classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2002.
|Manul at Rotterdam Zoo|
|Distribution of Pallas's cat|
The Pallas's cat is about the size of a domestic cat. Its body is 46 to 65 cm (18 to 26 in) long and its tail 21 to 31 cm (8.3 to 12.2 in). It weighs 2.5 to 4.5 kg (5.5 to 9.9 lb). 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 the claws are unusually short. The face is shortened compared with other cats, giving it a flattened look. The pupils are circular rather than vertical slits. The short jaw has fewer teeth than is typical among cats, with the first pair of upper premolars missing, but the canine teeth are large.
The Pallas's cat is native to the steppe regions of Central Asia, where it inhabits elevations of up to 5,050 m (16,570 ft) in the Tibetan Plateau. It is also found in parts of Afghanistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan, and occur across much of western China. In the south of Russia it occurs in the Transbaikal Krai, and, less frequently, in the Altai, Tyva, and Buryatia Republics. In 1997, it was 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 Aras River in northwestern Iran. Populations in the Caspian Sea region, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, are thought to be declining and becoming increasingly isolated.
In recent years, several Pallas' cats were photographed for the first time during camera trapping surveys:
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.
The breeding season is relatively short due to the extreme climate in the cat's native range. Estrus 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 (3.2 oz) 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.
The Pallas's cat has been hunted for its fur in relatively large numbers in China, Mongolia, and Russia; international trade in manul pelts largely ceased since the late 1980s. About 1,000 hunters of Pallas's cats remain in Mongolia, with a mean estimated take of 2,000 cats per year. Cats are also shot when mistaken for the commonly hunted marmot, and trapped incidentally in both legholds set for wolves and foxes and snares set for marmots and hares. They are also killed by herding dogs. Their fat and organs are used as medicine in Mongolia and Russia. While Mongolia has not recorded any trophy exports, pelt exports have grown since 2000, with 143 reported exported in 2007.
The Pallas's cat is listed in CITES Appendix II. Hunting is prohibited in all range countries except Mongolia, where the species has no legal protection despite being classified as Near Threatened in the country. Since 2009, it is legally protected in Afghanistan, where all hunting and trade in its parts is banned.
As of 2010, there were 47 Pallas's cats in 19 member institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; four litters were expected. No births and three deaths occurred in 2009. The 30-day mortality of 44.9% is the highest mortality rate of any small wild cat. The seasonality of its reproduction makes it difficult to control reproductive cycles. Keeping Pallas's cats healthy in captivity is difficult. They breed well, but survival rates are low owing to infections, which are attributed to an underdeveloped immune system and exposure to viruses not present in their natural high-altitude habitat.
In June 2010, five kittens were born in the Red River Zoo in Fargo, USA. A female was artificially inseminated for the first time at the Cincinnati Zoo, also in the United States, and gave birth to three kittens in June 2011. In May 2013, three kittens were born at the Nordens Ark zoo in Sweden. In May 2016, four kittens were born at the Korkeasaari zoo in Finland. In March 2017, five kittens were born in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, Utah. In April 2017, five kittens were again born in the Red River Zoo in Fargo.
In 1776, Peter Simon Pallas first described a Pallas’s cat using the scientific name Felis manul. Pallas encountered Pallas’s cats during his travels in eastern Siberia. Several Pallas's cat zoological specimens were subsequently described:
Otocolobus was proposed as generic name in 1858 by the Russian explorer and naturalist Nikolai Severtzov. The zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock recognized the taxonomic classification of Otocolobus in 1907, described several Pallas's cat skulls in detail, and considered the Pallas's cat an aberrant form of Felis.
Following genetic studies, the monotypic genus Otocolobus has been proposed to be placed in the tribe Felini together with the genera Felis and Prionailurus, because of their close phylogenetic relationship. Otocolobus manul is estimated to have diverged from a leopard cat ancestor about 5.19 million years ago.
The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.Domestic long-haired cat
A domestic long-haired cat is a cat of mixed ancestry – thus not belonging to any particular recognised cat breed – possessing a coat of semi-long to long fur. Domestic long-haired cats should not be confused with the British Longhair, American Longhair, or other breeds with "Longhair" names, which are standardized breeds defined by various registries. Domestic long-haireds are the second most popular cat in the United States after the domestic short-haired; one in ten of the ninety million cats in the US is a domestic long-hair. Other generic terms are long-haired house cat and, in British English, long-haired moggie.
In the cat fancy, and among veterinarians and animal control agencies, domestic long-haired cats may be classified with organisation-specific terminology (often capitalized), such as Domestic Longhair (DLH), House Cat, Longhair (HCL), or Semi-Longhair Household Pet. Such a pseudo-breed is used for registry and shelter/rescue classification purposes, and breeds such as the Persian cat. While not bred as show cats, some mixed-breed cats are actually pedigreed and entered into cat shows that have non-purebred "Household Pet" divisions. Show rules vary; Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe) permits "any eye colour, all coat colours and patterns, any coat length or texture, and any length of tail" (basically any healthy cat). Others may be more restrictive; an example from the World Cat Federation: "The colours chocolate and cinnamon, as well as their dilution (lilac and fawn) are not recognized in any combinations...[and] the pointed pattern is also not recognized".
Domestic long-haireds come in all genetically possible cat colours including tabby, tortoiseshell, bi-coloured, and smoke. Domestic long-haireds can have fur that is up to six inches long. They can also have a mane similar to a Maine Coon's, as well as toe tufts and ear tufts. Some long-haired cats are not able to maintain their own coat, which must be frequently groomed by a human or may be prone to matting. Because of their wide gene pool, domestic long-haireds are not predisposed to any genetically inherited problems.Felidae
Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat (Felis catus).Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws.
This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies, with the Pantherinae including seven Panthera and two Neofelis species. The Felinae include all the non-pantherine cats with 10 genera and 34 species.The first cats emerged during the Oligocene, about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a third major group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae. The machairodonts included the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related and together with Felidae and other cat-like carnivores (hyaenas, viverrids and mongooses) make up the feliform carnivores.The characteristic features of cats have evolved to support a carnivorous lifestyle, with adaptations for ambush or stalking and short pursuit hunting. They have slender muscular bodies, strong flexible forelimbs and retractable claws for holding prey, dental and cranial adaptations for a strong bite, and often have characteristic striped or spotted coat patterns for camouflage.Felinae
The Felinae is a subfamily of the family Felidae that comprises the small cats that have a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.Other authors proposed an alternative definition for this subfamily: as comprising only the living conical-toothed cat genera with two tribes, the Felini and Pantherini; thus excluding all fossil cat species.Felis
Felis is a genus of small and medium-sized cat species native to most of Africa and south of 60° latitude in Europe and Asia to Indochina.The genus includes the domestic cat. The smallest Felis species is the black-footed cat with a head and body length from 38 to 42 cm (15 to 17 in). The largest is the jungle cat with a head and body length from 62 to 76 cm (24 to 30 in).Felis species inhabit a wide range of different habitats, from swampland to desert, and generally hunt small rodents, birds and other small animals, depending on their local environment. The worldwide introduction of the domestic cat also made it common to urban landscapes around the globe.Genetic studies indicate that Felis, Otocolobus and Prionailurus diverged from a Eurasian progenitor about 6.2 million years ago, and that Felis species split off 3.04 to 0.99 million years ago.Karkaraly National Park
Karkaraly National Park (Kazakh: Қарқаралы мемлекеттік ұлттық табиғи паркі; Russian: Каркаралинский государственный национальный природный парк) is a protected reserve and national park in the Karaganda Oblast (Karaganda Region) of Kazakhstan. The park headquarters are in the city of Karkaraly, 244 km east of Karaganda.Khojir National Park
Khojir National Park is the oldest protected area in Iran, located on the southern slopes of the Alborz Mountains east of Tehran in Tehran Province. It was established as a wildlife reserve in 1979 and promoted to national park in 1982. It covers 99.71 km2 (38.50 sq mi) in the Jajrood River basin and ranges in altitude from 1,200 to 2,200 m (3,900 to 7,200 ft).Lutrogale
Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.Mephitis (genus)
The genus Mephitis is one of several genera of skunks, which has two species and a North American distribution.Pallas's
Pallas's could refer to any of the following animals, named after the biologist Peter PallasPusa
Pusa is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. The three species of this genus were split from the genus Phoca, and some sources still give Phoca as an acceptable synonym for Pusa.
The three species in this genus are found in Arctic and subarctic regions, as well as around the Caspian Sea. This includes these countries and regions: Russia, Scandinavia, Britain, Greenland, Canada, the United States, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Due to changing local environmental conditions, the ringed seals found in the Canadian region has varied patterns of growth. The northern Canadian ringed seals grow slowly to a larger size, while the southern seals grow quickly to a smaller size.
Only the Caspian seal is endangered.Speothos
Speothos is a genus of canid found in Central and South America. The genus includes the living bush dog, Speothos venaticus, and an extinct Pleistocene species, Speothos pacivorus. Unusually, the fossil species was identified and named before the extant species was discovered, with the result that the type species of Speothos is S. pacivorus.Viverra
Viverra is a mammalian genus that was first nominated and described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 as comprising several species including the large Indian civet (V. zibetha). The genus was subordinated to the viverrid family by John Edward Gray in 1821.Wakhan National Park
Wakhan National Park is a national park in Afghanistan. Established in 2014, the park comprises the entire district of Wakhan, extending along the Wakhan Corridor between the Pamir mountains and the Hindu Kush, bordering Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan to the south, and China to the east. Flora and fauna include some 600 plant species, the snow leopard, lynx, wolf, brown bear, stone marten, red fox, Pallas's cat, ibex, Marco Polo sheep, and urial. Remote and largely above the tree line, poaching and overgrazing, rather than mining and logging, currently pose the main threats. 13,000 Wakhi and 1,500 Kyrgyz live in the area.Wildlife of Ladakh
The flora and fauna of [Ladakh] was first studied by [Ferdinand Stoliczka], an [Austria]n[Czech people|Czech][palaeontologist], who carried out a massive expedition in the region in the 1870s. The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with that of Central Asia generally, and especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. An exception to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 318 species have been recorded (Including 30 species not seen since 1960). Many of these birds reside or breed at high-altitude wetlands such as Tso Moriri.
Extant Carnivora species