Researchers studying snow leopards in Nepal via night vision cameras have made a remarkable discovery: a cat species they’d never seen before!
The small feline, about the same size as a domestic house cat, was caught on film by by camera traps between 4,200 and 4,600 meters above sea level. The research team got as many as 14 pictures between 2012 and 2013, while the cat was prowling the rocky mountainside at night in search of food.
According to Bikram Shrestha, coordinator of the Snow Leopard Conservancy program, the cat is not an entirely new species, but one never before seen in Nepal. “It has no Nepali name for it is completely a new animal to the country. We came to know the new animal to be Pallas’s cat after comparing photographs with similar species found in other parts of the world.”
The Pallas’s Cat, also called the manul, is found throughout central Asia. All Pallas’s Cat subspecies are listed under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. “Other areas in Nepal also have the possibility of Pallas’s cat. So, an in-depth study is needed regarding this new species,” said Shrestha.