Status and range

  • Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul)
  • Recognised subspecies – Otoclobus manul manul & Otocolobus manul nigripectus (Otocolobus manul ferrugineus declined as subspecies with “orange” form stated as regional colour variation)
  • Population estimation – 15,315 mature individuals
  • Population trend – decreasing
  • Near threatened by IUCN (could qualify as vulnerable in future)
  • Range – wide distribution across central Asia west into Iran
  • Countries present – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia
  • Strong hold – Mongolia and Russia

Habitat, ecology, threats

  • Habitat – mountains, grasslands and montane steppe
  • Key habitat features – marmot burrows, rocky crevices, ravines and other cavities for denning, shelter and protection
  • Climate – little rainfall, low humidity, wide range of temperatures.
  • Rarely found in areas with 10 day snow fall of 10cm or more
  • Largely absent from lowland desert basins or flat plains
  • Predated by large raptors, wolves and red foxes (domestic dogs)
    Home range size – Male = upto 17 km2
                                      Female = upto 9 km2
  • Diet = small mammals (esp Pika), marmots, birds, carrion, reptiles, insects
  • Activity – active early morning and early evening (crepuscular) but can be active all day (diurnal)
  • Threats – habitat degradation, fragmentation, domestic dogs, secondary poisoning, over hunting

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Although little is known about Pallas’s cat vocalisations in the wild recent research in captivity (by a member of the PICA team) has found that they do become vocal during the breeding season. The research which remotely recorded all vocalisations found that they have a range of vocalisations from typical felid hisses and snarls to a more unusual call used in the breeding season. Used mainly at night these unique and elusive cats most likely use this call to attract other Pallas’s cats prior to mating.