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RZSS support rare cat conservation in Mongolia

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is supporting work in Mongolia to help better understand one of the least studied cats in the world, the Pallas’s cat.

Found in high mountain ranges spanning from Iran in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, the Pallas’s cat is short, stocky and mainly grey / brown in colour. Perfectly adapted for surviving harsh conditions, the Pallas’s cat has thick fur with dark spots on the head and a dark-ringed tail, allowing them to blend well into their rocky and grassland surroundings.

In 2016, RZSS established the Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance (PICA), together with Nordens Ark and the Snow Leopard Trust.

It is believed that Pallas’s cat faces many threats in the wild, including poisoning, hunting and habitat loss. PICA is now working with local communities, field researchers and small cat specialists to develop the first ever global conservation action plan for this little know species.

RZSS Cat Conservation Officer David Barclay said:

“There are large gaps in our knowledge of Pallas’s cats across the species range and this limits our ability to create effective conservation strategies. The community outreach, involving threat surveys, community engagement and delivery of educational materials provides us with new information and allows us to give something back to help raise awareness of the species.

“The PICA partnership with Nordens Ark and the Snow Leopard Trust, funded by Fondation Segré and global Pallas’s cat zoological collections, aims to do this by learning more about the species and the threats they face in the wild. This means working with local people throughout the cat’s natural range to help raise awareness of the species and help us gain a greater understanding of how people interact with the cats to help inform global conservation efforts.

For more information about the project please visit – http://pallascats.org/about-pica/

Photo credit: Jon-Paul Orsi

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