SIBERIA, Russia — Animal protection volunteers working in the remote regions of Southern Siberia, have captured photos of a very rare cat species that spends most of its time in hiding. The Pallas cat, known for its reclusive nature, has rarely been photographed before. While the cat is roughly the size of a domestic cat, it is much more fluffy due to the 9,000 hairs per square centimetre covering its body. The fur can also grow as long as 7 centimetres, which makes the cat look much larger than it actually is and protects it from the freezing temperatures in the mountainous region.
Research has indicated that the species, also referred to as the Manul cat, was related to the Leopard millions of years ago. Although conservationists do not have exact numbers on the species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reveals that the species is “near threatened.” This decline in population is due to, ‘habitat degradation, prey decline’ and poachers in the region.
According to the WWF Coordinator on Biological Development, Vladimir Krever, “The measures that are applied to poachers now are not strict enough.” The Pallas cat was first classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2002 and animal protection volunteers continue to work towards protecting its existence. Check out the cat’s quirky appearance in the gallery above.
READ MORE: WILD BEAUTIES: THE SAVANNAH CAT