Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), also called the Manul, is a small wild cat species which is distributed in the grasslands and montane steppe of Central Asia. It has been classified as ‘Near Threatened’ in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due its habitat degradation, prey-base decline and hunting (Ross et al. 2008). It has been listed in CITES Appendix II.
Nepal is a potential habitat of Pallas’s cat, however neither its research has been carried out nor any information on this species, is available from Nepal. Nepal has both eastern Himalayas and western Himalayas. Western Himalayas are the potential habitat of Pallas’s cat. Since Pallas’s cat has already been reported from Bhutan (http://www.wwfbhutan.org/?206453/Near-threatened-Pallas-Cat-found-in-WCP), Nepal’s eastern Himalayas are also the potential habitat of the species because these areas are similar in terms of habitat, and climatic conditions. Considering these facts, we are collecting the baseline information on Pallas’s cat in Nepal. This proposed research help to fill the information gap of the species from Nepal and also help to understand the species ecological niche, survival threats and for setting conservation priorities in landscape level in its global distribution range.The Pallas's cat shares the habitat with other endangered high-altitude mammals and birds. Therefore research and conservation activities of the species are also beneficial for other sympatric species.
The objectives of the project are:
• To assess the local historical record (if any), knowledge and perceptions about Pallas’s cat with local people using semi-structured interviews
• To conduct pres/abs survey of Pallas’s cat using sign survey and camera-trapping methods
•To develop ecological niche models of Pallas’s cat using presence only locations, bioclimatic variables and machine learning algorithms in Nepal and throughout its global range
PROJECT UPDATE (11 MAY 2014)
Two transects have been completed. The first in Sagarmatha National Park was 130 km long and yielded tracks at two different sites. The second transect in Annapurna Conservation Area was 360 km long and yielded scat at three different sites. Camera trap work is on-going. Reports from local residents in Kanchenjungha Conservation Area of Pallas’s cat are under investigation.
Project 13057058 location - Nepal, Asia