Grumpy and Elusive Pallas Cat Found on Mount Everest
The Pallas cat, or Manul (the OG Grumpy Cat), a semi-endangered feline endemic to Central Asia, has been found on Everest, one of the world’s tallest mountains.
Sort of found, that is…
The cat is notoriously elusive and has not yet actually been seen or photographed. Researchers studying other species found, collected and then ran DNA analysis on scat found in the area.
The scientific researchers reported they had no idea what species the samples were from that they were analyzing (other than it was a much smaller carnivore than a leopard). When the DNA results returned with a positive match for the Manul, they were quite surprised. The snow leopard research group had camera traps throughout the area for months but had never seen or photographed any other unidentified creatures.
The Pallas Cat found on Everest is genetically similar to others in the region which may indicate migration over great ranges and interbreeding with other local populations. The samples analyzed show at least 11 individuals living on the mountain, so more likely exist. Undoubtedly, more research is in order, but now we know they exist, we can help protect them.
The biggest threats to Everest Pallas Cats are habitat destruction from human encroachment and the poisoning of Pikas by farmers to protect their crops. Poison is cheap and effective for poor farmers, but other forms of pest control for Pikas could meet the needs of people while preventing unneeded poisonings of Pallas cats or depletion of their food source.
In the original “Grumpy Cat,” the Pallas cat has captivated hearts since the general public has known of it. They are the size and shape of a small, stocky house cat with thick fur. Like all cats, they are great predators, and their range depends on the availability of their favourite prey – pikas and voles.
Their facial features are notoriously angry looking to anyone that knows cats. Some might say they have a bad case of “resting bitch face.” In my opinion, the OG Grumpy cat living undetected and frowning at unaware mountain climbers has certainly captivated my heart!
Given its elusive and shy nature and ability to exist undetected despite the increased human footprint in its territory, it makes me think these creatures prefer to be left alone. With proper protection, the Pallas Cats of Everest will be able to exist there forever.