While doing his daily rounds a Russian farmer finds something completely unexpected in his barn. A litter of kittens, he quickly realizes these are not your usual litter of kittens.
Their eyes were not yet open and he realized he would have to act fast if they were going to live?! Not knowing what species they were he contacted the Daursky Nature Reserve who identified them as Pallas cats. Also known as Manuls these cats are native to Central Asia and are very very rare.
About the same size as domestic cats, that’s just about where any similarities end. Manul’s are much stockier, having shorter legs, wider faces and much more fur to help keep them warm in the harsh winters the Central Asian Steppes experience.
Staff at the reserve decided to see if two resident domestic cats would nurse the four motherless kittens. And nurse them they did, raising them as their own.
The kittens began to put on weight and of course, grow. And the staff at the reserve fell in love, which made things all that much harder as they knew they would have to release the four feisty felines back into the wild.
THE STAFF AT THE RESERVE HAD WELL AND TRULY FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THESE FOUR, LETTING GO AND RELEASING THEM INTO THE WILD WAS NOT GOING TO BE EASY!! BUT IT HAD TO BE DONE.
On their first winter alone in the wild, the manuls lost the radio collars that the reserve put on them to track their progress. They also lost a lot of weight.
They ended up taking them back to the reserve for the rest of the winter and released them again in the spring when they could adjust more easily.
Now the manuls are back in their natural habitat and thriving.
These unique cats are safe and sound in their natural habitat, all thanks to the reserve and their own wonderful domestic cats.