First report of rare cat discovered on Mount Everest – YubaNet

Findings from a new article published in Cat News have identified the first-ever report of Pallas’ cat on Mount Everest in Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park. This groundbreaking discovery is the result of the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest 2019 expedition, the most comprehensive scientific expedition in history to the mountain.

Pallas’ cat. Credit: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

From April 7 to May 2, 2019, Dr. Tracie Seimon of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program, based at the Bronx Zoo, co-led the Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition’s team of field scientists who collected samples environmental at two locations 6 km (3.7 miles) at an elevation of 5,110 and 5,190 m (16,765 and 17,027 ft) above sea level along Sagarmatha National Park on the southern flank of Mount Everest.

“It is phenomenal to find evidence of this rare and remarkable species on top of the world,” Dr Seimon said. “The nearly four-week trip was extremely rewarding not only for our team, but for the scientific community as a whole. The discovery of Pallas’ cat on Everest sheds light on the rich biodiversity of this remote high mountain ecosystem and extends the known range of this species to eastern Nepal.

DNA analysis of scat samples taken from the two sites confirmed that two Pallas cats inhabit Mount Everest and overlap in territory with the red fox. The researchers found evidence of pika and mountain weasel DNA in the samples, an important food source for Pallas’ cat. These findings also add a new species to the list of known mammals in Sagarmatha National Park, a much-visited and protected World Heritage Site.

WCS’ Tracie Seimon collects cat DNA samples from Pallas CREDIT: Anton Seimon/National Geographic

“This is a unique discovery not only in terms of science but also conservation as this population of Pallas’s cat is legally protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). extinction),” said National Geographic Explorer and paper co-author Dr. Anton Seimon. “We hope that the confirmation of this charismatic new species will help raise awareness and educate about the diversity of species at this iconic World Heritage site.”

The number of tourists visiting Sagarmatha National Park and Mount Everest has increased dramatically, from a few thousand in the 1970s to over fifty thousand in 2019. It should be noted that Pallas’s cat has not been detected in this park through 2019, and the new study demonstrates how conservation genetics and environmental sampling can be used as a powerful approach to discovering and studying cryptic and elusive species like Pallas’s cat.

Future research combining camera trap surveys and collection of additional scat samples would help better define the population, range, density and diet of Pallas’s cats in Sagarmatha National Park.

“The groundbreaking Perpetual Planet Everest 2019 expedition continues to be extremely valuable for better understanding our planet’s most iconic environment,” said Nicole Alexiev, vice president of science and innovation programs at the National Geographic Society. . “These results perfectly illustrate why this work is important and forms the cornerstone of our partnership with Rolex to study and explore the Earth’s vital life systems.”

From April to May 2019, an international, multidisciplinary team of scientists conducted the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Mount Everest in the Khumbu region of Nepal as part of National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Expeditions partnership. Team members from eight countries, including 17 Nepalese researchers, conducted pioneering research in five scientific areas critical to understanding environmental change and its impacts: biology, glaciology, meteorology, geology and cartography. . To learn more, visit:

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places around the world through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To accomplish our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its global conservation program in nearly 60 countries and in every ocean of the world and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people each year. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom.