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March 21, 2017
Pallas’s Cat in Kazakhstan: from investigation to conservation Completed
Final report of Siberian Environmental Center about investigations in the Eastern Kazakhstan in 2013-2014 ›› (PDF 4,3 Mb, in Russian)
Photo report on field trip in Almaty province in March 2013 ›› on page of Pallas' Cat Study and Conservation Program in FaceBook
Photo report on field trip in East Kazakhstan in May-June 2013 ›› on page of Pallas' Cat Study and Conservation Program in FaceBook
This project aims
to obtain more specific information about Pallas' Cat number and distribution in Kazakhstan and create GIS base for the species monitoring
Anna Barashkova (Russia)
Ilya Smelansky (Russia)
Andrey Kovalenko (Kazakhstan)
Mariya Gritsina (Uzbekistan)
Georgy Shakula (Kazakhstan)
|Duration of project:
||April 1, 2013 - May 31, 2014
||Republic of Kazakhstan
The project is supported by the Rufford Foundation (general field expences and purchase of camera traps).
Additional support of the Small Wild Cats Foundation allowed to increase our field observations (include South Kazakhstan), get more camera traps and involve foreign wild cat specialists.
Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) is widespread in Kazakhstan, but is a threatened wild cat species with mosaic distribution. The species is Near Threatened in IUCN Red List and was supposed being disappeared from the central part of Kazakhstan.
The results of our previous work undertaken in 2009-2012 showed that against our former expectations Pallas’s cat has limited distribution in Kazakhstan. We outlined three range parts differing with main habitats and preys. As comparing with investigations in Russia Pallas’s cat tends to be rarer in Kazakhstan. The reason for this is the fact that the cat is rather secretive and tends to choose very specific areas to live making its range mosaic-like more than in Russia. Possibly it depends on more snowy winters in north part of national range and the presence of other small wild cats in the south part of the range. Behind this human activity (such as development of virgin lands, poaching, mining activities etc.) has negative effect on Pallas’s cat populations.
Kazakhstan impressively increased the acreage of protected areas in steppe biome last five years but no one new or enlargement protected areas encourages Pallas’s cat surviving.
Proposed project's activities and methodology
- Preparatory stage (team training; conclusion of necessary agreements; preparation of maps and other materials for creating GIS working project; planning field work; purchasing necessary equipment) (March-April 2013)
- Workshop on Pallas’s cat study and conservation problems (special round table at conference “Conservation of steppe and semi-desert ecosystems in Eurasia”, Almaty, March 2013).
- Organization of art contest (pictures and compositions devoted to Pallas’s cats) for schoolchildren in investigated areas (contest will be announced through local schools in March, works judged and winners awarded in May-June or September – as it will be convenient to schools)
- Field work, stage 1. Investigation in eastern part of Central Kazakhstan Upland (Ayagoz, Abai and Semipalatinsk districts of East-Kazakhstan province and neighboring Karkaralinsk and Aktogai districts of Karaganda province of Kazakhstan) including interviewing local people, setting camera traps, surveying Pallas’s cat habitats (eg. steppe rock outcrops with holes and niches, steppe ravines, etc.) and taking note of scats, urine marks, hair, etc. (May-June)
- Field work, stage 2. Checking and repositioning of camera traps, conducting observations and interviewing locals (using other survey route). (August-September)
- Field work, stage 3. Stopping camera traps work (taking them). Pilot snow-tracking research in existent protected area (October-November).
- Data processing (July, October, December 2013 – April 2014) consists of:
— analyzing interview data (species sightings etc. and threats)
— analyzing camera traps data
— analyzing habitat research data
— outlining the proposed protected area
— overlapping data obtained with subject layers using GIS software
- Preparation of basic documents for new protected area and presenting it to governmental conservation bodies (March-April 2014)
- Database and GIS on Pallas’s cat locations, habitats and population density in Kazakhstan will be updated
- Main part of the national Pallas’s cat range situated in eastern part of Central Kazakhstan Upland will be thoroughly investigated
- Basis documents for establishing new protected area for Pallas’s cat conservation will be prepared and presented to conservation bodies
- Threats to Pallas’s cat will be assessed more accurately and localized
- Local communities will be informed on and educated in Pallas’s cat protection
- Some new territories where Pallas’s cat was not investigated previously will be studied (particularly Betpak-Dala desert, Zaissan Lake area, Tarbagatai Mts)
- Monitoring of the species density will be started in one or more existent protected areas
- New wildlife researchers will be attracted to Pallas’s cat study and conservation and trained in
- Our experience in Pallas’s cat investigation will be transferred to other countries