Pallas's cat

This one of the elusive wild cat watching tour is very much an adventure as we visit the vast open wilderness of Mongolia in search of its fabulous small cat. The Felidae family consists of 2 subfamilies, 14 genera, and 41 (IUCN reviewed the taxonomy in 2017) species. The sole member of its genus, the Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul), also called manul, was named after German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described it in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul. But in 1858, Russian explorer and naturalist Nikolai Severtzov proposed changing the name of the genus to Otocolobus. Its present-day scientific name, Otocolobus, comes from the Greek language and means ‘ugly-eared’. One of 4 species of cats in Mongolia, the Pallas’s cat has a wide, but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and mountain steppes of Central Asia. Therefore, Mongolians say that manuls use dung to hide right in front of the eyes of people when they meet. As a result of its cryptic coloration (i.e., well camouflaged) very little data exists on population trends for the Pallas’s cat in Mongolia and this species may be re-categorized as Threatened under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Criterion A in the future when assessing the species’ population.

Pallas’s cats are well adapted to the cold, arid environment found in the Eastern Steppe Ecosystem of Mongolia. The area where appears to have a very high density of this highly sought after cat. Predominantly crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn), these cats can be active at any time of the day in winter.

Our time will be focused on both birding and mammal watching with a strong focus on trying to see Pallas’s cat. In breeding season, we can see kittens while waiting for their mother to return, learn by playing. They begin to follow their instincts and attempt to playfully catch anything that moves. Also, while we are observing the cat, can hear a female cat calls their kittens after returning from hunting and the kittens respond in the vast steppe.

Tour Detail of Summer

Saturday 9th – Monday 13th February 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Sunday 10th- Wednesday 13th March 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Friday 21th -Sunday 30th June 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Monday 2nd- Monday 9th July 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Wednesday 10th-Thursday 18th July 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Thursday 22th -Sunday 25th August 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Full

Monday 9th- Monday 16th September 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Still Place

 

Minimum Number required for trip to run: 3 people
Maximum Group Size: 10 people
Accommodation: 6 nights: 5 nights in ger camp and 1 in hotel/guesthouse

We will have a team of drivers, cooks and assistants in a convey of a Toyota Land Cruiser so 3-4 people in a car. We will camp in traditional ger camp and there are camp shower and loo for men and woman. If you have special preference for food, please tell us.

Key Birds: Demoiselle Crane, Mongolian Lark, Oriental Plover, Small Snow finch, eagle owl, steppe eagle and much more

Key Mammals: Pallas’s Cat, Steppe Polecat, Corsac fox, Mongolian Gazelle and much more.

Travel Itinerary

1 day. Departure in Ulaanbaatar and head to Eastern Mongolia (570 km from Ulaanbaatar)

1,2,3,4, 5 day. Sukhbaatar aimag- Pallas’ cat, steppe polecat, oriental plover, eagle owl, steppe eagle, and small birds – ger camp,

6 day. Back to Ulaanbaatar (from Sukhbaatar 570 km)

Winter difference

  • In winter, the Pallas’s cat has a large home range, despite its small body size. For example, males’ average home range size was 98.8 km2 and females’ was 23.1 km2.
  • The Pallas’s cat’s distribution appears to be limited by snow cover, as they are rarely found in areas where the mean snow cover over 10 days exceeds 10-20
  • Pallas’s cats forage more often in flat steppe habitat in winter than summer because it is easier to find prey during this time of food shortage.
  • Predominantly crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn), these cats can be active at any time of the day in winter.
  • Pallas’s cats preferred underground marmot burrows, most likely because they had good insulation and lower air circulation. Unfortunately, massive marmot declines in Eastern Mongolia have reduced burrow availability, creating problems for these cats.

Tour Detail of Winter

Tour Dates: Two Departure

Friday 9 th – Wednesday 14th NOVEMBER 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Still Places

Friday 22th- Wednesday 27th FEBRUARY 2019 (Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar) Still Place

Minimum Number required for trip to run: 3 people
Maximum Group Size: 7 people
Accommodation: 5 nights: 4 nights in ger camp and 1 in hotel/guesthouse

We will have a team of drivers, cooks and assistants in a convey of a Toyota Land Cruiser so 3-4 people in a car. We will camp in traditional ger camp and there are camp shower and loo for men and woman. If you have special preference for food, please tell us.

Our time will be focused on both birding and mammal watching with a strong focus on trying to see Pallas’s cat.

Travel Itinerary

1 day. Departure in Ulaanbaatar

2,3,4 day. Sukhbaatar aimag- Pallas’ cat, steppe polecat, eagle owl and small birds (570 km from Ulaanbaatar) – ger camp,

6 day. Back to Ulaanbaatar (from Sukhbaatar 570 km)