We have yet more wildcat conservation today.
Terry Townshend is a birder who lives and works in Beijing and, on his site Birding Beijing, documents the avifauna around China’s capital. But alert reader Ben W. told me that Terry had also come across a very rare felid, Pallas’s Cat (Ocotolobus manul, also known as the “manul”), on a trip to China’s Qinghai Province near the Tibetan Plateau.
Manuls are threatened despite their wide range (below), and rarely seen in the wild. But if you’ve ever seen one, as I did in the Sacramento Zoo, you’ll never forget it. They are a strong contender for the World’s Cutest Animal (see here), and are certainly the world’s most adorable wild felid.
Terry documents the encounter in a post called Pallas’s Cat, which you mustn’t miss. He and his partner, Marie Ng, came across two Pallas’s Cat kittens cavorting outside their den, and watched them for 40 minutes. Eventually the mother showed up with dinner (a pika), and they all repaired to the den to dine.
Terry documented his encounter, distilling the video into five minutes of highlights that show the kittens and Mom returning with noms (a kitten grabs the pika). It’s absolutely spectacular footage, and you can see it the video here. It’s a must for all ailurophiles. Be sure to put it on full screen, don’t miss the close-ups near the end, and maybe leave a note of appreciation on Terry’s site.
Here’s a photo of a manul kitten taken by Marie Ng, reproduced with permission:
Their range (from Wikipedia). They are cold-climate animals, accounting for their long fur, huge paws, and short ears.