These wild felines are fierce hunters.
Known for their extreme fluffiness and unusual eyes, the Pallas cat has won over the hearts of animal lovers and conservationists alike. And now that fluff will be rewarded with a Siberian safe-zone.
Upon agreement at an international conference, authorities set aside a 32 square-kilometer area for the endangered animals in the Sailyugemsky Nature Park in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, the Siberian Times reported.
Pallas cats, also known as Otocolobus manul, are reclusive animals native to Russia and central Asia, including Iran. Poachers hunt them for their fur, and the cats’ food supply is threatened, putting the species in danger of becoming extinct without conservation efforts.
“Our peers from Russia are doing a great job monitoring felines. All the world knows that this is where the snow leopard lives and that the park is responsible for its protection,” Jim Sanderson, director of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, told the Siberian Times. “The Pallas's cat also needs protection.”
While weighing in at only 10 pounds, these cats have the longest and densest fur of any feline to keep them warm in their cold climates, Wired reported, making them appear much larger than they are.
Despite their comparable size to a house cat, Pallas cats are still wild animals and should not be kept as domesticated animals. Given their preference for high altitude steppes they would likely suffer in low altitudes and confined spaces. They often hunt their prey by hiding and ambushing as they are slow runners, according to Big Cat Rescue.