(PICA Small Grant Programme)
Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research
August 2021 – April 2022
Collect baseline data on distribution, threats and the overall conservation status of the Pallas’s cat in Bhutan.
Pallas’s cat is the rarest of wild cats found in Bhutan which is the southernmost distribution range of the species. Bhutan recorded its first Pallas’s cat at two locations in the April of 2012 during a camera trapping survey in Wangchuck Centennial National Park (WCNP). In the same year, another single record emerged from Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP).
Currently, information on the species is restricted only to these three locations and dedicated studies are literally non-existent. Despite several snow leopard surveys in the two national parks over the last eight years, no recent records of Pallas’s cat suggest that either the species is naturally rare in Bhutan or the species requires dedicated research.
We conducted a camera survey in 2018 in the Soe Range of JDNP but did not detect the Pallas’s cat, however, due to the limited sampling area and survey period, we could not conclude that the species is absent (now published in Cat News, Dhendup 2020). Recent anecdotal evidence suggest that the species may be present in Lingzhi, an area adjacent to Soe. The Park management reported that locals have seen the cat in their area which is very close to the location where it was previously recorded. Through this project, we are proposing an intensive and a more detailed survey in Lingzhi and extend it to locations in WCNP where it was first photographed. The project aims to collect baseline data on distribution, threats and the overall conservation status of the Pallas’s cat in Bhutan.