Exciting camera trap images from Snow Leopard Conservancy’s Nepal team show that Pallas’s cats are living in Nepal. Although the Pallas cat lives in grassland and mountain steppe areas throughout Asia, researchers never expected them to live in Nepal until these images were taken. If fact, there isn’t even a Nepali word for this species of cat.
When SLC program coordinator Bikram Shrestha discovered the images on camera traps that had been set to capture snow leopard data, he was unsure what the strange cat was. With the input of small cat specialists Jim Sanderson from Small Cat Conservation Alliance and others, Bikram confirmed that the picture was of a Pallas’s Cat.
An Excerpt from Bikram’s Report
Among eleven camera-trap locations, cameras installed in Aangumie Lapche and Praken, both locations above the main village of Manang, captured images of the Pallas’s cat. A total of fourteen pictures were taken.
The image of the first animal was accidentally captured in one of the remote cameras installed as part of the Snow Leopard Scouts “community-based snow leopard monitoring project” in Annapurna Conservation Area through join collaboration between Snow Leopard Conservancy and National Trust for Nature Conservation – Annapurna Conservation Area Project. The Scouts are a high school youth forum organized in 2011 to monitor and conserve snow leopards in Lower Mustang, Upper Mustang and Upper Manang. Every year, eleven students from grades 6-8 representing several local schools are trained on snow leopard ecology, prey observation, characterizing alpine habitat, and installing and monitoring remote cameras.