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Manul – Pallas’s Cat

Manul – Pallas’s Cat

Otocolobus manul

The cat that people think of for high-altitude central Asian habitats is the snow leopard. However, there is another equally important cat for those ecosystems that tends to get overlooked (which is generally the case for small cats). It is the Pallas’s cat, Otocolobus manul. Weighing between 2.2-4.5kg, Pallas’s cats are recognizable by their compact body, short legs, thick coat, fluffy tail, and a bearded, flattened face with an expression that makes Grumpy Cat seem content.

Pallas’s Cat

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Cat of the month

Borneo Bay Cat (Pardofelis Badia)

One of the world’s least-known and most endangered wild cats, the bay cat, has been photographed by Panthera grantees Jedediah Brodie (Universiti Malaysia Sabah/ University of British Columbia) and Anthony Giordano (S.P.E.C.I.E.S/Texas Tech University). Their photograph is the first record of this very elusive cat in the Borneo highlands, at 1460 meters (approximately 4,800 feet).

The records add to our very limited knowledge of the species, which was photographed alive for the first time only in 1998 and where most previous records are from dense lowland forest under 800 meters (approximately 2,600 feet).

Borneo’s bay cat is so elusive that it took over a century before researchers got a chance to study a live one in detail. Covered in striking, rust-red fur with white under the tail and face stripes, this cat was officially named in 1874 on the basis of a skull and torn skin sent to England by the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. Naturalists didn’t have a chance to study a live one until a bay cat was captured in 1992, and the cat remains so difficult to find that researchers know very little about how this secretive cat actually lives. The fact that the cat is so difficult to find is all the more frustrating because conservationists list the felid as endangered. The deforestation of Borneo may wipe out the bay cat before scientists get a chance to find out more about it.

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