Manul spotted in Armenia for the first time in 100 years

December 23, 2020 – 16:51 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – The Pallas’s cat, also known as the manul, is no longer extinct in , as the wild cat was spotted in the country for the first time in 100 years, the Ministry of Environment reports.

The manul is a small wild cat native to the montane grasslands and shrublands in Central Asia and the . The animal is included in Armenia’s Red List of Threatened Species.

The Pallas’s Cat Otocolobus manul is among the rarest mammals of the Caucasus, being recorded only in the 1920–1930s in south-western Armenia and once observed (skin) in 1996 in the neighboring areas of the Arax basin. For this reason, so far it was considered as regionally extinct in the Caucasus. The the animal was spotted in January 2020 in north-eastern Armenia about 140 km away from the nearest historical sites, a report on the record was unveiled on December 20.

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The report provides details of this record and associated habitats, and discuss all published information known so far on the historical occurrence of the species in the Caucasus. It shows that only five small areas are suitable for the existence of this species in Armenia. The western limits of Khosrov Forest State Reserve hold the largest tract of suitable habitats. Protected areas play a minor role in Pallas’s Cat conservation.

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