Pallas' Cat

Columbus Zoo Works to Preserve Pallas’s Cat

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is excited to announce the May 23rd birth of a Pallas’s Cat kitten. The kitten’s birth marked the second live offspring ever produced with artificial insemination in Pallas’s Cat.

Columbus Zoo's Pallas’s Cats breeding pair, Manda and Paval, were observed mating in the winter. However, the Zoo determined that the female, Manda, was not pregnant. Animal care staff and veterinarians worked with the Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical garden to conduct an artificial insemination procedure in mid-March, near the end of the pair’s winter breeding season. The subsequent birth of the Pallas’s Cat kitten is the first offspring produced by Manda and Paval.

“CREW scientists have been working in collaboration with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Pallas’s Cat Species Survival Plan (SSP) and the Columbus Zoo for several years to apply reproductive sciences, such as semen freezing and artificial insemination (AI), to improve Pallas’s Cat propagation and conservation,” said Dr. Bill Swanson, Director of Animal Research for CREW. “We are pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to build an understanding of our role in the preservation of this threatened species.”

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19989264_10154892566092106_159425387795079120_nPhoto Credits: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Animal care and animal health staff have only recently determined that the kitten is a female. While the kitten and her mother are venturing into the habitat, father, Paval, will not be back on view with Manda again until the kitten is ready to be on her own at around nine-months-old.

The Pallas's Cat (Otocolobus manul), also called the ‘manul’, is a small wild cat with distribution in the grasslands and mountains of Central Asia.

Since 2002, the species has been classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, predation from species (including domestic dogs), poaching, and secondary poisoning from farming pesticides and rodent control.

The Pallas's Cat was named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas, who first described the cat in 1776 under the binomial Felis manul.


First Ever Birth of Pallas' Kittens with the Help of Advanced Science

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Three healthy Pallas’ Cat kittens (two males and one female) were born on June 8th, 2011 at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden following a laparoscopic oviductal artificial insemination (AI) procedure conducted by scientists from the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).  This pregnancy and birth are the first ever in Pallas’ Cats from artificial insemination.

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Photo credits: Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The AI procedure was performed using laparoscopy or minimally invasive surgery combined with a new oviductal insemination technique for cats that was developed at CREW.  The Zoo’s female Pallas’ Cat, Sophia, was treated with two hormones to stimulate ovarian follicle growth and ovulation and then was inseminated in both oviducts with semen collected from the Zoo’s male Pallas’ Cat, Buster.  Three healthy kittens were born following a 69 day gestation.  The kittens, now 9 weeks of age, are being raised by their mother in an off-exhibit enclosure.

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The Kitten Trilogy Finale!

Over the last few weeks we brought you installments number one and number two of the Pallas' Cat kittens' progress at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Now seven weeks old, today we bring you the third installment in the trilogy in which the kittens venture out of their den in earnest and start exploring.

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Enjoy many more videos below the fold!

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Feisty Pallas's Kittens at Wildlife Heritage Foundation

The UK's Wildlife Heritage Foundation announced the birth of four Pallas's Cat kittens on May 28th to proud parents Tula (F) and Wei Shand (M). Tula is doing a fabulous job of caring for all her new kittens and they are growing up very fast!  In the following videos the kittens can be seen at 5 days old and then 3 weeks old, which helps give you an idea of how quickly these kittens are developing. 

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Note that what appears to be hissing in the second video is actually the kittens smelling the keepers when they come to check-in. The WHF explains that they are actually quite relaxed and this open-mouthed smelling behavior dissipates as they get older.

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UPDATE: Just got this new video in along with new instructions - #1) Avoid bright light #2) Don't get them wet and #3) NEVER feed them after midnight.


Bramble Park Zoo Has New Baby Pallas' Cat Kittens

Topping off the trifecta of cute and cuddly kitty cats are the rare and spectacular Pallas' Cats. These three were born in July at the Bramble Park Zoo in Watertown, South Dakota. The Zoo is especially proud of these curious little creatures because it has been trying to breed them for years. Well, congratulations!  Can I have one?

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