Have you ever wondered what kind of creatures inhabit the slopes of Mount Everest? It turns out that two of the world’s rarest cats have been discovered living in the remote high-alpine environment of Nepal’s Sagarmatha National Park.
A team of scientists, part of the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Expedition, were amazed to discover evidence of Pallas’s cats living in the area. This discovery extends the known range of this species to eastern Nepal and illuminates the rich biodiversity of this remote high-alpine ecosystem.
Pallas’s cats, or the original “Grumpy Cat”, are known for their distinctive facial markings and long grayish fur. This fur helps them keep warm in their native mountainous environment across central Asia. They have already been spotted living in other mountainous regions in Siberia, the Caucasus, and Pakistan’s Hindu Kush, but nowhere quite as intrepid as Mount Everest’s southern flank.
The team collected samples from two locations 6 kilometers apart at 5,110 and 5,190 meters’ elevation. Their analysis revealed that the wildcat’s prey consisted of weasels and pika, a variety of Himalayan mouse. Red fox traces were also identified at the same location where the Pallas’s cats were found, which indicates an overlap in predator territory.
The discovery of Pallas’s cats on Mount Everest is an incredible find, and a reminder of the importance of preserving these remote high-alpine ecosystems. They are a testament to the hardy creatures that can survive in such extreme environments.
Sub-title: Rare Wild Cats Discovered in Mount Everest Environment