Save Pallas Cats 2002

Saving the Pallas Cat

Big Cat Rescue is saving pallas cats. We post the latest in pallas cat news here and in our newsletter Cat Tales. We gather news from around the world DAILY and forward it to The Global Federation of Sanctuaries and the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, of which we are a part, who are actively involved in saving pallas cats and all exotic animals. See what you can do to help save these exotic cats in captivity and in the wild. Great Cats and Lesser Cats are in peril around the world and need people like you, who care about pallas cats and other exotic cats to help save them from the brink of extinction. Big Cat Rescue is working to make it illegal to sell exotic cats as pets and is diligently striving to improve conditions for big cats in zoos and circuses.

The Founder of Big Cat Rescue is helping to support the following project and asks that you help her help them.

Photo by Janet Ross, Cincinnati Zoo

3/22/02  Hello Carole,

Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you again for your ongoing support of the Pallas Cat Project in Mongolia.  🙂

Ms. Dawn Simas
Director – Wild About Cats
Wild Feline Conservation, Education, and Rescue
http://www.wildaboutcats.org

Wild About Cats is pleased to be supporting an ongoing research project in Mongolia on wild Pallas’ cats. Neonatal Pallas’ cats are dying in captivity due to a parasitic infection, Toxoplasma. The largest remaining wild population of the endangered Pallas’ cat is found in the grasslands of Mongolia. Meredith Brown, (click here to email her)a veterinary student at Ohio State University, is heading this study.

In the summer of 2000 WAC funded the first project, consisting of capturing and taking samples from several cats (see photos below). She has now returning in 2001 to collar more cats for behavioral and monitoring studies. Check out her updated project report and photos. She is also allowing for a fantastic opportunity for you to join her on her next research trip to Mongolia!

 

ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF THE PALLAS’ CAT IN MONGOLIA

Meredith Brown and Bariushaa Munkhtsog

Introduction:

pallas cat photoThe Pallas’ cat (Otocolobus manul), named after German biologist Pyotr Simon Pallas (1741-1811) is a small-sized wild cat known for its flattened face, stocky build, and long hair. The cats’ coat is unique with black spots on the head and varying black stripes either on the back, tail, or both. The hair’s tip is white, producing a mystical frosty appearance. Weight ranges from 2-4.5 kg in the adult cat.

The Pallas’ cat is adapted to cold arid environments and lives in rocky terrain and grasslands through out central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. Because of hunting and rodent control programs, the Pallas’ cat is threatened with extinction in its natural habitat (Appendix II; CITES, 1996). One of the largest remaining populations reportedly live in the central part of Mongolia, where as many as 50,000 cats were killed per year for their pelts in the early 1900’s. Approximately 10,000 per year were killed in the 1980’s and in 1988, hunting was banned and trade has since essentially ceased (Nowell and Jackson, 1996). Now that hunting is prohibited, Mongolian wildlife biologists have not had the opportunity to gather any information on the Pallas’ cats’ status in the wild.

Because the cats are endangered in the wild, recent conservation efforts in North American zoos have focused on captive cat propagation. Although captive Pallas’ cats are reproducing reasonably well, there has been extraordinarily high (80%) mortality in newborn kittens over the past three years, primarily due to Toxoplasma gondii infection (Swanson, 1999). The purpose of our initial study, during the summer of 2000, was to gather information from the wild Pallas’ cats in Mongolia so that the captive and wild populations could be compared in terms of parasite load and physiologic and genetic parameters. We were able to capture and gather biological samples and information from eight wild Pallas’ cats in a two month period. The samples are currently being analyzed and pending results should assist in the captive management of the cats.

Very little is known about the home range, habitat preferences, and daily activity patterns of the Pallas’ cat. As such, the Action Planning of the IUCN has declared a study on the Pallas’ cat’s natural history a priority( Nowell and Jackson, 1996). We have a study site and a team of Mongolian scientists and guides arranged to pursue this first ever study on the ecology and behavior of the wild Pallas’ cat in Mongolia using radio-telemetry and night operating binocular observations.

Objectives

Determine: home range, habitat preferences (where does it live at different times of the year; where does it live at different times of day), daily activity patterns (including hunting, mating, and rearing of kittens), intraspecies relations (home range overlap), prey selection, and current national Mongolian Pallas’ cat distribution. Additionally, continue biological sample collection for genetic and physiologic information.

If you would like to donate direct to this project on line you can do so here and signify in the notes that it is for the Pallas Cat Project:

You can be assured that your donations are being spent on theprojects you select as we provide an accounting of all of our income and expenses on line on the page called Finances. If your other charities don’t make this information readily available you have to ask, “Why?”

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